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Full text of "A pilgrimage in Europe and America leading to the discovery of the sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River [microform] : with a description of the whole course of the former and of the Ohio"

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WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 873-4503 





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1 2 3 

4 5 6 



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'^^'"^ /d^M^^*x:JjMcr.:. 














By J. C. BELTRAMI, Esq. 








1 AM( 

2 APo 

3 AKn 

4 A Wo 

1 A War 

2 A Seal 


3 A Neck 
* A Pipe- 
5 A Knife 



1 A Mocas 



4 A Basket 
•'> AWoode 
6 A Pewter 






, Sec. 


3 A Knife-sheath (Cypowais). 
"^ ^ ^'"""n's Apron.pouch. 

[All these ornaments are embioidered 

with porcupine quills]. 

, ^ PLATE II. 

1 A War Pipe (Sioux). 

2 A Scalp of a Sioux, given to J\r n w • , 

Cypowais. " '" *" ''• ^^"^»- '^y the Great Eagle Chief of the 

* A^;:;:::--«-'-ofthewhite.a,e. 

5 A Knife-sheath (Sioux). 

[The ornaments 1 and 5 are embroidered 

with porcupine quills]. 

1 A Mocassin (Sioux ^ 

2 ^ /■ 

~~ (Cypowais). 


— (Ditto female.) 

t» A Pewter Pipe-bowl (Ditto). 

[The ornaments 1. 2 aiui i ,,» l •, 

> "' ^"'^ •'' ^re embroidered with porcupine quills]. 





















^'>e Ciiateau. 

^jng and Assembly Roon.. 
-ine Orangery. 

^'le Theatre. 

The Sea-horse water. 

Orangery and r.t-house. 

J'>e Temple of Apollo. 
• ^he Baths. 

The Grotto. 

Tlie Botanic Temple. 

Tlie Aqueduct. 

2°r,^"'"«'-ith a cascade. 
Hydraulic Machine. 
The Barracks, 

J^"-s of. Temple to Mercury. 
Turning Bridge. ^ 









The Mosque. 

Ti.e Temple of Minerva. 
J''e Grotto of Pan. 
Hotbeds and Houses 
The Kitchen Garden, 
^''e Fruit Garden 

^;r:^"'"''^-"^ trees. 
Dmo for foreign ,,ees. 



Parterres in the French fashion 

Flower Beds. " ^' 


Statue., and Vases. 


Philadelphia, February 2Slh, 1823. 

Where shall I begin, my dear Madam » Where 
I ought to e„d,-with myself; for you are im- 
patient to hear what is become of me. I know 
your friendship, and anticipate its wishes 

I am now in America. My hand-writing 
ought to convince you diat I am alive • but 
since a very reverend father has made the dead 
write letters, it is become necessary to explain 
whether one ,s still in the land of the living, and 
particularly when one writes from another world 
and has been many times near the gates of eter- 

For a description of our terrible passage I 
must trust entirely to my memory ; for, during 
the whole voyage, I was so ill, that neither mv 

vr»r IT J 




stomach nor my head allowed me to write a 
single line. Besides, being as ignorant of naval 
affairs as a Tartar, any attempt to describe the 
nautical occurrences of the voyage would only 
tire out your patience, and expose my awkward- 
ness and presumption, by a vain parade of hard 
technical words; it would be only a useless 
addition to that deluge of notes, )i(trrativcs, voy- 
ages, adventures, observations, diseoveries, and so 
forth, with which so many intrepid navigators 
from Calais to Dover, from Reggio to Messina, 
from Gibraltar to Ceuta, from one side of the 
Sound, or of the Dardanelles, to the other, have 
enriched and inundated the world. I will give 
you only a slight sketch of what was most re- 
markable during this passage, although it was 
protracted to a period of more than three months 
and a half of suffering ; and I shall be the more 
laconic, because my hand is weak and unfit for 
writing. Let us return, therefore, to where we 
should have begun. 

At Liverpool, my intention, at first, was to 
embark for New York, the packets of which are 
very comfortable ; but, being informed that the 
yellow fever had committed considerable ra- 
vages there during the summer, and that it still 
prevailed, I determined to sail for Philadelphia. 
The persons to whom I was recommended, 
exerted themselves to secure a comfortable pas- 



sage for me ; but, having been deceived respect- 
■ng the aecommodations of the ship and the 
e aracter of her captain, they thought no ot e 
provi ,ons necessary than wine and liquors. I 
therefore embarked with confidence; -and mi- 
serably was I disappointed. 

We left Princes dock on the 3rd of Novem- 
ber, at about five o'clock in the morning tZ 
weather was beautiful, and, as I was told fa! 
vourable. ' 

The names of the crew having been called 

sTted Th' f ™'"''^ *'' ^-^ '^"^'^ ''»d de- 
serted. This begmmng vas not propitious. A 

cook IS an important personage everywhere; 
but the resources of his art are particularly de- 
sirable, when the contingencies of scarcity of 
provisions and other viatic incidents, demand an 
extra portion of skill and industry. 

TKe stewa.d or servant of the cabin was ap- 
pointed to fulfil these important functions, and 
his porfeuU/e was handed over to James a 
young American sailor, about twenty years of;.e 
equally msolent and careless ; and ihus we hid 
two novices, in situations of great difficulty on 
board sh,p The hour of dmner discovered to us 

enabled us to form some idea of what we might 
expect m future. Among other things tha 
threatened us, was uncleanliness, the greates 






torment tliat can be inflicted upon my stomach 
and senses. The larder and the wardrobe were 
equally ill-supplied, and dirty ; and 1 was 
laup:hed at tor asking lor implements to wash 
mvseir with. 

The tirst day the wind was neither fair nor 
foul. The second, our passat»e between the 
island of Anglesea and the coast of Ireland, was 
a little opposed by contrary winds; and a storm, 
which th'» cai)tain told us was very dangerous 
on this coast, assailed us on the third, near 
Cape Clear ; from which ])eriod 1 date the be- 
ginning of my dreadful sea-sickness. On the 
seventh the wind subsided; but we made no 
progress. On the tenth it blew with greater 
fury than ever, and drove us on the western 
coast of Ireland. The captain seemed not nuich 
delighted, and 1 was still less so, for the sea tore 
me to pieces. Fortunately, Killala bay aflbrded 
us shelter; but in our endeavours to avoid Scylla, 
we ran into Charybdis. All this coast is inha- 
bited by a semi-barbarous people, who had risen 
against the government, because they were 
starving; and this was precisely the focus of the 
insurrection of the island. My companions had, 
however, only the fear of an attack. For my own 
part, I had not even that ; on the contrary, consi- 
dering the dreadful state of my health and the ap- 
palling aspect of everything on board the vessel. 




ciiKH- Of -ni,,: vKssKi,. (■ 

a.Kl of this .sea, (whici, h always stormv a Ihi. 
---,,.) r ..ught ,.. ,.ave la„,I„I at a y 'i 
--'Miose nothing l,y,,assi„«f,.„.,..,,,l,,;,;,,, 
'~ to another; I n,„.st gain by a chanJ "f 
<en.cntandinevcry„thoM...s,J;,.ut yr: 

.1". on ,s naturally as inHoxihle as my ,lJi, 
On he th,rtoenth wc continued our voyage '' 

was ■irlLT ^''' '"y ■■■''■'<''■''"'''- wind 
wa.(an '<•. An.cnea, and we made some way 

'>ccanK daily ,n„re terrible. Stretched unon . 
wotehed Hoek-bed, which the bones 1.72 
■■•mtcd body penetrated even to the flofr .J 
o» y rcbef was derive.l from resignation U, J 
fate, and Iron, that courage which, thanks to 

"eaven, does not easily forsake me. My w 
passengers were Spanish An.erieans." J 1" 

were dressed as gentlcn.en, fbr which they w2 

-e ted to their former p..ofession of Jrl:; 

i hen manners were in perfect unison with tifc 

atrocous character o. their countenances and 
gave n , ,,^^ ^,^^ ^_^^ ^ jes.^ nd 

mamty The appearance of the captain was 
calculated to alarm a man who was going L 
v.s.t h,s country, with a view to admire Ind to 
learn free and generous sentiments. The new Iv 
appomted cook, a hideous negro, covered IT h 
Wth from head to foot, had only to show himself 
to Csgust the most intrepid and chivalrous"! 


rn«»\ I MiOi s, 



lUMrli. ;\n(l to rriuliM Ins m1)s<mum' nnich inoio tlc- 
Nn;\l>lr \\\;u\ his prcsiMU'r. I.iltl*' .Innus \viis 
i) t\i«>sl <'\1r;un«lm;H V r('ll()\> ; n non «l('s( ri|»j. 
/\( lirst I i';«llo(l on( to Inin. " Sl,'>v;\j(l !" "I 
:\in not :\ sti'wintl. H'pli«Ml \\c, "my ninno is 
J;\nu^s.'" "Wrll tluMK .Innuvs!" " \> li;«( «lo 
\o\\ nu'Mn bv.l;«nu's^ iM v nsnm^ is !Mv .Iiinu's." 

" \ «M y \v(^ll. Air .Iinni's. will you 

- \\ill yon — will you '" "I :nn not ;i 

siM\;n\t to nny body. ' I lIuMi nskcH tluMnp- 
t;\in who. ;\ntl \>Iumo. wms {\\c scrvimt. To tins 
i|iu^stion lu' n^pluMJ Nvitli mw ol" Ins nsunl civil 
U)t>ks. ;n\(l. I;\ui;lnni> in my larc. turned Ins back 
upon n\(\ 

\\\ \hc sliort sktMt li I linvr i>iv(Mi yon of tins 
il<.^lit;hti'ul < oin]v\ny. you may jud^o «)rtlio sitnii- 
tion ol'nn nntortunatc brini;\ who iVoni complcto 
oxliaiistion C' uld not i^vtMi stand. If 1 b>l't my 
dm 1 was oblii^i^l to diai;" niysc^ll' alouLj «m inv 
hands and kui^i^s ; but this rxcitrd no pity in 
thoso srlt'ish and unt'oiOinLi- w riMchcs. JSov was 
my state o( animal i^xisttMU'o loss deplorablo 
than that i^t'my sorial iot^lings. 

Tho littlo tVosh moat that irmainod was be- 
come rom]ilotoly putrid, and spoiled tlu^ onions, 
looks, v'vo. with whioh it was o«>okod. I oould 
not obtain a ohiokon, booanso it was first nooos- 
sarv that tl\o wliolo of this dolioions moat should 
bo oonsumod. 1 oH'orod, and mado presents for 



• m.u. -, 

nhK M.n.l. I w„M M.I.Mr.l fo ,1,, ,„„,,,,,,,,. 
'"''""•■••"''" '"^^' '""'••'I polMl.MS. w,(|, wl„r|, I 

III) nil. 

' '""I very ^^,,0.) w,,,,.. |,o||, rv,.,,,,), .,,^1 M;, 

•l'<-tMs,.ivrs In !„•,■,■,,(,„.; (I,,, ollrr I vo|„„h,nly 
•••'"''' ••< '^Imiimu rvny iM.Mlr will, lliriM lliry 

""•"'»•■'• ^l'- mimI (Im. ,.o„k. ,|„n|<i„. 
I"'»''"'»'.V Hk.I I |,,H|^r ;Mon. lo rio c./l,,; 
^^v.,|l(^M• wUl. winr. (..iiicl M.osf rflc-r- 

"vHymll,rsl,„nM.|„|,;,,.,nlyorMM. Iionoiinil.l. 
*'"l'^'«". m.hI n.y ;miii;,I,Ic Irllow imssriK^m \ 
■-'•wlhis; hniu|,||„v,,Mo|,,M<lif; lormymiml 
WHS lu.l ll.n, n.rrH.lrH, nhliou^.l, n.y ,.|,ysu..| 
■«>ln.nKll, w;,s ullrrly (vlKmsfcrl ; I,,,, ,\„„ 

';•;"'•'' "'.ysrir win, iM.u,iiy ,i.s,hsi„. ti,.,„ 

al. mul tlH,„ ,„ art as llicy 

"••"■ <"'>"<i"rt supplied nn, wifl. .|„„Klanf 

'""*'*''■ '•"' ""''li'-'tion 0,1 Iniinnr. life ni.d Inm.nn 

I saw in llicsr wrotrlM.,s ;, pcrfcH, |,i,.,„r(. „f 
linrs, i,c|,l».w.s ./iVrW.v ,„„l wtvj.piIs, wI„. ,„r 
'■""n<l th. ,l,.aU,-l,«l „f ,)„ip (-..ti,,,,,, ,„„„.,. 
In-'ixls, aiwl ...asters, lik. „C prey, ,.|,„„l<:r 
tl.o... I«.tl. I,c(l,,e a...l .fter their ,l,,.t|,, n,„l every expedient (or the gratification of 

r HI 

^( (in 



their avarice and ranacifv \ i 

vices, and vorrcitv of f l,n . P'^^^'^'^'^cy, 

u..,city of these vultures. 
^e were now, niv denr Mo i 
'"« "coan ,0 tl.; rinZa.or; '"""^'''"^ 
"""'"'g any progress h. ! ' "" '^'"""" 

drove us frnm """"' "^ "w vessel and 

va-sofeai„:t :;;:'^^ 

^-t decrees of .r i^^^^^^^^^^^^ 

which came on dunno- fi '^ '^^'"^ 

-th was ujy teS."" "'*'"" "^ "- '-„ty- 

Tile waves beat with v ' r 
•^'"■P. that they , rltd"" T '«"'"' "'« 
tl'atofthemost i !,T, '^''^''' "'""'»'• •" 

'-t that they :t„7: " 'r "'^ ^"^ -- 

water wliich LsheT ■"■"' ""'•'^ "ff^^^h 

ana inunda d Xrr! """ °""^' "'*' 
f cahi... oeca'slr^^t'Tr : T T' 
drowned almost all fh« , ^'^^^^^^ <^isorder. 
provisions. I natienH, ^."""' "'^ o""- wretched 
videnee. and re , eate^ '^''l "^^^'^ '« P- 

•ny situation briS^ '""'■ ""• «"» 

nought to my remembrance the 

A.Mi;i(l(Ai\ CAI'IAIN. 

•saying of a gocd king, whose name I 


" Purchi! il reo non si salvi, il giusto pcra." 
This kin,: must either have lived before the 
tmie of .7.:.,(.nian, or he was unacquainted with 
h.s maxim~JA./m.v est, centum reus- aksolverc, 
f/ml:> unim umoceutcm comlcnwa re ;—\mi let us 
return to our delightful voyage. 

We proceeded sometimes to the south, some- 

trnies to the north, sometimes to the east but 

never to the west, which was our Colchis. 

Meantmie. my sufferings increased. There was 

notlnng but salt meat, and the water, which by 

the bye was very bad, was measured out to us 

m a bird-glass. I know not what would have 

become of me-for my stomach rejected all their 

dishes, rendered mo.e disgusting by filth-had 

not a sador sold me some rice. 

Observe, my dear Madam, that American 
ships are always well provided with rice, which 
IS so abundant with them ; but our captain, who 
had consumed his whole stock during his lon^ 
stay at Liverpool, where it is much dearer 
judged It expedient to defer purchasing any 
more till his arrival in America. You see there- 
fore that I had embarked with a man who per- 
fectly understood his interest, if not his duty The 
difficulty liowever was to find some charitable 
person who would undertake to dress it, though 



\ I I ll(»U '^ M I V I SS. 


IhiIt'-mH. I « I'lilil rxprri no Knulnr^soi Ini 
ni:\n\t\ \\\\\\\ \\\\ own nnlrrlnni '^t v . I (In nlnic 
;\pplu^l lo lh;\1 uhuh \> o ;\ir not M'^lcinn-tl to 
opprrs>« :nul to r;\l\nnn\;«lo n\ rxix pos^iMr 
\\;)\ ri\»V(> \\;\*^ ;ni I'.nt'Ji^hw on\:\n on ImiumI. 
who \\ ;\^ JV'*"^''. <•' )'^"' '»'"' l\n'>l»;n\il in Vnnni n 
Slu^ otirir«l WW \\c\ ;iss>st:u\rr . tl\o n»oro \\\\ 

vrr(M\*tl r» In t troni \\\\ \\ n<o, \\ln»l\. n- \>«>II ns 
in\ nu «lu mr »h«>>»t. \\,\\\ \\vc\\ .\{ tlw mmnuooI 
tho wholo ron\nu\n)t\ I l>;\»l no\> lIuMrlon^ 
Konio rh;\n\^^ ot lnun;\n»^ trratnn'nt. >\ hrn I \v;»s 
snd*KMilv s«M/r»l \\\\\\ A pntvul t»'\«M. 

It i>« \v.\\\\ astoinshnvu tl\:\t I «'o\ilJ vrsist :)ll 
thrsi^ ntt;\rks. ov snpjioit \\\c rtlrt^s ot Molrnt 
oniotus. i]t^l>ilit;\tt^l ;\s I \m\s In sr;» siiknrss!. 
tU'stituto ot rxorx knul ot \»^stoi;\t)M\ ot ;ill plw 
su\\] ox \\\o\a\ ;\u1. ;nul :\h:u\»lon»^l l>v ;ill nu' 
l^nxtMs oNvH^pt tluMMUMi^y ot n\\ nunil. 

1 know not \\\vM that is whirh is tMUod soni ; 
iov AS \ h{\\c :\]\vm]\ s;\i»i. 1 nn\ ntMth*M ;« nirt;\- 
]>hysioinn. nor a \\\co\o^r.\u : Init it is nnqnos- 
tionablx somr dixino t";\rnlty aotnii; xxithni ns. 
>vitliout \xlnrh it xxiMild he iinpossihU^ tor ni;\n. 
In his oxxn uii;\ul(\l stivn^th. \o support s«>nn' 

"s o\ \\\\\ 1 XX as nion^ poxxor- 


1~ tl 

10 X UMSS1 



fully than oxor nn]iivssi\l with this truth, in tho 
lorriblo situation mxxhioh 1 t'ouiul niysolt'in this 
xossol. ami it is prnuMpally tor tlio luMiotit of 




I M 

II •' 


'^ ' I M(t|( s I M "V ( 




li^ iiimimI ini; I 

•'»M»«. Iliiil I I 

iKInillMM MM I.Ml,; will, (|,m HMhil ol 
^ *'^, IMV firjil < 'nillit 

• !«V«« orr ii|iM'(l V'Hif 


IK Ir.l ii|M.,i l.v I'lov,,! 

• '<'<. iiiiin iM ii I,,,.,, 


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MM-i|;\ mimI //r* //7//o( i(i,m ' 'I'U 


rhmrM movr.l |,y sii|mim,i mj 

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jMUllMII MM It JlnllMM II 


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'»ll. liioM' or \r^K, in jMo 

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K'm iiMMc nv lr«M rncr 



'«' Miomnil I Ml 

'«'""». ^vl(ll a iMKlyalrnoMl rf.rnpldcl 

lo lis I 




II wrilin.r |„ y,,,,^ ,1,.,,,. 

'y nfiiiintl 

fiii'l Mial I ,'oiiM tM)t 

iny rruMfl i« 

Hirti .siislaiiMil will 
lli:i( I'lovnl 

now «i»|)|,orl wlial | 

I K«» miicll llClfH 


I Ix'l 





f^iimr liiiiiiM 

=i;:;'in fMJiiil luc llie 

'^s. iiiilrsH il sImmiM Kcr (il lo .,/ 

"K" ii^^iiiii 11, t|„. same (li-eafMiil 

I I 


irvt myself; lor alllif,„^r|, f 



pliia, we are ,sli|| al 

•"•• "■ Hie idea of rwvrUwr | 

'^ihiahon. r,i,f 

firii wrifinir iifun 

» 'r^rcnl rli«laf,f;e. 


,irm«'ns rnr. and lead 

'» my Kidjjf'ct, 

'^ Mil' to iriflidc 


»K <M^^rcssions: Hiis al 

in fl 

Ih)\v iinieli more (ee|,| 
Wiis Ihcn. 

'•'I will prove t 




<' '"y mind is now than it 


I ;mi sorry lo return t 


my wroteli(!f| hftd. 

•■•^ '.^ perhaps not less painful U, yo„ dis- 

JJfustm^ l(, me; hut ,t 

IS the only st 

'I'^e ij 




11 ! 


ft ' : 

■.'.I I 



which I acted during the whole of my voyage; 
and the Epopea requires unity of place as well 
as of action. I hung between life and death 
till the lith of December, when I began to 
revive a little. During the whole of this time, 
I had eaten nothing but rice, which however 
my good English nurse had not economized ; 
she and the rest of the passengers had probably 
little scruple on this head, for she afterwards 
repeatedly told me that every one on board had 
completely given me over. I one day saw the 
captain carefully remove all my effects into his 
closet, under pretence of protecting them, as he 
said, "from the wolves^ I could not help 
laughing ; and thanking him for this first mark 
of care so voluntarily bestowed. I just told him 
that his expectations would be disappointed, 
and that I should not die yet, in spite of all 
the sufferings and hardships I had experienced. 
Indeed I never for a moment thought I should 
die, so convinced was I that some superior power 
watched over my existence, as a proof of which, 
I tell you the following incident. 

1 was reduced to my last pittance of rice, and 
no more was to be had. I caused myself to 
be dragged upon the deck to breathe a little 
fresh air. I observed a pig with an ear of 
maize in his mouth. I asked the captain if 
he would have the goodness to allow ine a 
little of this maize. ''What shall I give my 



author's illness. 13 

pig then?" was his philanthropic reply The 
same evennig a storm arose DurL it 
n.ght ,t raged with great fury; the tJe 
washed over the deck; one brok into the s^ 

as an offern.g to the offended deities of ocean 
By pnonty of demand, I became the rightful he"; 
to h,s pittance, and this pittance kept me ahve 

the hand of Providence more clear in the matter 

captam s pet irom the first wave, a second 
rolled over him, as if to punish him for h, pre 
-mpfon ; and, had it not been for the corda" 

the p.g. The poor captain was inconsolable- he 
was very fond of it, and scratched it every dav 
With great tenderness ; he declared i^ ^ 

intellifi-enf I 1 J aeciared it was very 

mtelligent. X had some thoughts of recom 
mending myself to his favor, by imitatilT" 
courtiers of Madame de PampadJu ^ 1 ' a'ske: 
her^every morning if she and her Mo.j^:Z 

The captain himself and all on board « 
seemedconvinced thatsome superin endTng d tT 
mterposed its protection in my favour- IJf^, 
had before obliged them to trLt „" witT om 
degree of respect, I was from that time gaild 
wnh a species of veneration. ^"^ 





f 1 


It is useless to repeat how often eontrary 
winds drove us, sometimes towards (Greenland, 
and sometimes towards the Azores. One day 
we were only sixty miles from tlie latter. 1 re- 
quested the eaptain to put into one of them 
that lie mi^!it s^ive us the opportunity of re- 
cruitiui^; our strength, and provick' a supply of 
])rovisions and fresh water ; for that whieh was 
in the casks had been so agitated ])y the storms 
that it was scarcely drinkable. He gave us a 
good reason for his refusal, viz. that he was 
forbidden to deviate from his course, unless on 
account of injury sustained by the ship, or loss 
of masts, or from being driven upon a dangerous 
coast ; so that my first lesson in navigation was, 
that wc were not permitted to save ourselves 
till we were first at the bottom of the seas, or 
swallowed up by a whale. Apropos of whales; 
1 have been often very near realizing the [)ro- 
mise I made you, in my last, from Liverpool, for 
we saw a great number of them towards the 
coast of Greenland. Here however the great 
question arises .... C(fu one be swallowed by 
a whale ? I think the Inquisition ought to settle 
this as it did the question of the motion of 
the earth, which, Galileo would have it, moved 
round the sun, though Joshua makes the sun 
turn round the earth. 

Naturalists assert that the whale feeds upon 



•' """" "'■■"'"'c '»«ect, that its throat i. 

"»"ovv that it oonl.l not swallow tisLo. 
- ^; oni,,., an. that it can only ^^Z Z 

J:"cUmv.n^nopowc,.orn.a,..ieatioI. .wT,,'; 
<li(l Jonah timl his way down •' T """''■'f'' 

>"^«e,s with thol^L '"/<^<=""""o.late 

;;;-;;- to settle the .,. est.., an. Jt-l: 

^^V^e had not "-ono f<ir i.,>f 

j,()ne lar bvUnc \vc were asv;n||nr] 

•'y;."otl,e.ten.ihlcstonn:theni,htoft S 
of Decern hermit wns forri« a . " 

i"fftothenuld ^k 'S; ^ '^"7 '-'""S- 

t'.c body of the vesse, s! , " '"■''^'' '""' 
^ ine vessel, swept over t. and ^n 

eon^pletely drenched it every Ltant, th t e ery 
tl. ns n. o„r eabin was a«oat. Oni of on ni" 
rates was thrown o„t of bed, and reeeiv d so 
severe a bruise in the leo- tint I,o r- 1 

vcr from it .1, ■ " "^ '''^ ""t •■eeo- 

vi^i ironi It a( rin'>" iUn \nrhr^]^ 

confusion and tuninlf c« , "^ 

selves to rln . '^'^' '^^'^"^^ them- 

fe sed tha tr'"^ "^' ^^"^ ^'^^ ^P^-" -n- 
esscd that this was a case which would iustifv 
his putting into norf • K..f *i a "^'^^jusury 
now wit,,if, reaei. T. .'^''"■''' ^^--^ "<" 

all the . ^ ^ '""^ !'"''"''« went with 

all the coward.ce of the base and sordid I to d 
them that, as they had boasted so much of hav 

-. been sadors, they had better assist iee.: 
but they were too busy with St I.„ i l. ' 

Postella, and o„r Ladv of f K *" ' '^'""■ 

worldly affairs M "'"'' "' ^'tend to 

«ly attans. My poor Englishwoman was 

' N' j • 




' I' 


If If 

I' '• 

11 i 

almost dead with tear ; I felt nothing like dying, 
for liaving been preserved so long, I had a per- 
suasion that I should not die during this voyage. 
Everything was in disorder : in short, the cap- 
tain determined to resign the shij) to the winds 
and waves and let her drift ; for, in the latitude 
and longitude in which we then were, he had 
nothing to a})prehend, either from the rocks or 
the coast. 

We were between ihe Old and the New 
World ; each seemed to drive us from its shores 
towards the abyss. 

There were but a few inches of timber be- 
tween me and eternity ; — but when our hour is 
not come, eternity itself must recede; — and thus 
it did recede from before my eyes. 

The following day, although the storm had 
not subsided, there was the serenest sky 1 ever 
beheld. I dragged myself on deck, to enjoy 
the scene which the sea and the ship, still the 
sport of the waves, presented. It was indeed 
truly grand. We were sometimes upon a moun- 
tain, then in a plain, and then in an abyss. 
It was a perfect representation of our country, 
diversified by the most varied features of na- 
ture. Sometimes I saw the beautiful plateau of 
your Cimcrclla, and the illusion which painted 
you to my imagination was a delightful relief 
from this terrific picture. But a most extra- 
ordinary phenomenon presented itself, both to 



"KMAriKAULE S Ji O W K Jl . J^ 

Lt h. K " '"'""■»"«'■■'. to atone for having 
-t then by the ears with the inquisition. ^ 
A .^orth-west wind passed with such force 
2T ! ""^'"''' "^ ""-■ ^"ves, that it blew u,. 
" e water u. a kind of fine dust into the ai 
-here ,t ,,, ,,,„^,^^^^^ ^ o^ the an 

'•efiilgent sun, and fell .,„n,„ , 

hrillln.,. f ^'"" "• => shower of 

now for the mouth. ^ ' 

Tiiis shower in its descent was chanirerl infn 
fiesh water, thoui^h there con Id ll Tr 
it was the vcrv tl. , "° '^""^^ ^^^^^ 

winds had .? ! '^ ''"-"^^^^ ^hich the 
"''^ naa dispersed n thf^ oir ^ 

and nothn)g was seen in the air l.„t *i , , 

/'"« oeeasioned by tl,i, '1! ^"1 J"'"'^'^' 
tlif. f„ 1 ^ ^^^^^ conflict between 

tlie two elements. This i., « f . "t^cween 

tion is not ,.fl, , ' ^"'='' '^ transforma- 

"on IS not difficult to account for ;<■ •. i 

that the saline particles are T/? ^' """^ 

vation from the cTrth ' '""'"'" ^^I^' 

tend. Icarus or S "' T"' "^'"''^"^'^ P-^^" 

aeronaut mav „e -h ? ""' '"''^'^'^"' °' -^o™- 
-t, may perhaps have made some e.vperi- 


1 :i 


i ! 






meuts on this subject. Learned men ami na- 
turalists, who arc very happy at conjectures, 
may extricate tliis difhculty from the obscurity 
in which [ leave it. I am not versed in natural 
phih)sophy ; I am a naturaHst only in the sense 
of wishiiifif to kair. iuitiirc to herself, or at most 
only to aid her o])erations. 1 am but the herald 
at arms, who opens the lists for them, and 

January Gth 1823, wc passed the southern 
point of tlie bank of Newfoundland ; we had, 
therefore, performed two-thirds of our voyage. 
This, Madam, is the famous bank which has so 
often been the apple of discord. The yVmeri- 
cans, the French, and the English, contended for 
the exclusive privilege of the fishery, which is 
very valuable. The riches of this bank are one 
of the causes of our poverty : its cod, stock-fish, 
&c. which come and infect our country, lower 
the price of our produce and cattle, our princi- 
pal commercial resources : our money thus goes 
into the pockets of foreigners, and our produce 
sells for nothing. This also is one of the bles- 
sings we owe our governments. But what is 
most singular is, that orthodox Catholics impo- 
verish true believers to enrich orthodox heretics ; 
for this trade is now monopolized by the English 
and Americans. Well, my dear Countess, 
would yon believe it? Tliis bank, which has 


lONDfCT „K niE c„,;«-. If, 

;° ".'■"'" P°'^°»"l my -"cals during J.ent rcfuso I 
to "five nip nnr. ..f -4. . ^ J^^iu, reiused 

t, and tl.o l.o,ull,e was ,ny ambrosia. As to 
nectar, J cannot say much ; the water wis h. 

"■e p nates, the captan,, Mr James, the cook the assistance of the lady and l,r Ztel^ 
dramed a I niv bottler nf <-' ■ ' " 

rant.;,. 7 ' Cognac l.ran<ly. The 

oaptam one day drank so liberaJIv of it in 
vate, that he was ill for a week of ., \ ''"" 
■nation in the thmnf k- ■ '"''^"'- 

they had faHen f f ' ' "'"''y "^'"^'^ ''i™ • 

chesf- T eiixjis, &c. m my medicine 

tTu2:z:Tr- ''"''''"' ' '>- -=-" 

-«ieie„rr"iiart:,' i""' '-"^^^^•^ "^^^ 

=•« eye of nitvTT "^ "P°" '"'^"^ ^''h 



' # 





coNniur OF riii, iiiiw. 

slnp allows, and (o ^ivc such liinls to our 
coiinnon iVuMuls as may iiidii'-r llu'in in si- 
milar ciivuinslanci's. lo hv moro canlions than 
I was in ascnlaininjj^ llir accommodations of the 
shij), the character olthi^ captain, the conipany, 
iSrc. ; that tliey may avoid the sitiiaiion iii wIucIj 
I was |)laci<d. I luive (h'scrihcd it cii hudnnnii 
that I mii;ht not wound your sensibility : but it 
was really dreadful. The stench alone, which, 
from the dirt and the destitution to which we 
were compelled to submit, inl'ected cvcrythinL!:, 
even our own persons, was sullicii>nt to kill a 
man, however enured to all the vicissitudes of 
lite. It is said that we may accustom ourselves to 
anythinL!:, and this 1 can now attest from expe- 
rience ; but I assure you I often wished mysc>lf 
an oyster, which, accordin*^ to naturalists, is 
destitute of the sense of smell. 

Hut we will turn from this disoustinc; picture, 
and, whilst advancing- with a tolerably favour- 
able wind, direct our attention to our ])irates, 
who were arrayed in battle against Mr Jr* les 
and the captain. 

It would be dithcult in any monastery to find 
a greater glutton than this Mr James. Our 
])irates carefully concealed their dry provisions ; 
and to escape the danger of either having to oticr, 
or being asked for, any, they ate them in secret 
during the night, or clandestinely in their berths 
during the day. Mr James, however, found an 

MA III, |., (nv MOAIII). 



="""• ;,'''"" "— '• l-s. in wl,i,.„ I,.. J 

^-T;;"-^'"" -"-ylK-la,.,, .ss. „„„„..„., 

,"" ''^ •■'"y,"'""^' «'""'• '».y ".>M. is s„fii,.i,.„. •• 

.. ..,,vu,..y ,.,.,,,, ,,i „„„..,, L, ,; 

;',*'"■ ''"■'*"'^' «'i'-- '!"• ".ns,.,|,„.„..,.. ri„. ,..,„ 
"'<^N|.an,sl, A„,.n..un.s wo„l,l l„.vo l„..„ i , , li, 

;'::7""^ -•;-■ • »": '. i.u„ <,.,.,;,:: 

ass,s,a„,,... .,, |,i, A,,,l„-A„«.ncan.s, fo,- ,,., „,„ ^ 

were fis/s I f f .'"^^ ^'"f"'"'' ^"'(''"y^'l 

w -ehss. M,„.|,„,, to interfere; b„t when the 

■S « threatened te ternunate the M 

nftcr then- fashion, with knives I „se, 

~ of coneiliation. , .'.h J:'\ ^^^ 

pre ailed between the belligerent parties : ,h,. 

eTtldrr "' ■"""" '" '^^^ '"--'dversari 
cat their provisions without inviting him .o par- 






: k 


take i)i' tluMU ; and IIjcv nvciv tuiuallv dissatislietl 
with his solitary visits to his l)t'cr. Tlicso ridi- 
culous sc'cnos, to^othcr with tho iin(listurl)i'd 
cnjoynuMit of my Ixniillic, liad fontrihutcd a little 
to the recovery ol" my spirits and stren^l"'. 

One nu)re storm, mv dear C^ountess ; it was 
the last, and it piocured iis a sui)i)ly of food. 
It came on in the ni^ht of the liUh January, 
lSl23, and continued almost the mIioIc of the fol- 
lowinii' day. As our vessel was nnich (lamaj>;cd, 
the waves washed over the deck at their ])lea- 
sure, and sometimes brought with them the in- 
habitants of ocean; but as they met with no 
obstruction, they generally returned the way 
they came. That night however wc succeeded 
in eai)turing three that were entangled in the 
cordage, &c. 1 can give no description of them, 
for I did not see them till the following day, 
when they were cut into pieces and salted; but 
they \ATre of the cetaceous genus, which is very 
extensive. Their oily Hesh, under any other 
circumstances, would have been insupportable; 
b'it I thought it pretty good in such a famine; 
the very idea of anything fresh was sufhcient 
to stimulate the appetite, and give a relish to 
the food. 

The captain w-as more alarmed by this, than 
by any former storms, though comparatively 
slight, for the vessel was in a most shattered 



('ondition. and Iw. »,m,o i 

• """ '"- ^■"'' iMifnliciisni; „f Loin.' 

,""■■' "«;""-^' ^' ^-"'K-s l.unk, wl,i,.„ w. 
"" vory .l,s,a„,. „n.l ,l,c ,sl,„„|s of whid, .,v 
mim.Toiis iM,(l (lan-.Ti.ns, 

' • "'■""•" •^'•'" - 'w.. ..„' 

"'"7"f' ;• '" """ ■<• U> us ,l,at ,„.. la,,,, 

-Inch l,a.l so I,,,,,. s«.„,..,| ,„ „,,.,|„ ,„,;„.;'' 

«l.™u,l,oy earn. „,<.„„«,,.., a,.,l U. ,,.„„,.,.t,„a... 
;- •''- amval at U,o ,,.e., port, a, „ at , : 

o( those lovely l.e„,.s whiel. e„,bellisl, ,„„. fo,.os,s 

an<Ionl,vonou,. ,.,„.,, walks ;w,,iol,o„oe,™ 
-;-"- - ... the sloo,„ of solita.le a„„ „ , ' 


peak the lang„age of l,a,.mony an<l in„oc<^ 
'"vc; wh,e,. „cve,- i„spi,.e fear, Li w,,„so nc 

"-•e. .K. i„.pa..t .,.!;e:kr i;':;:;v'- 

-veet emotions they excite. They w e Jo ,,t ' 

b..d.s of the continent of North A,„er el 

were devourpfl P.r fi i •,, *'"^"ca-— t/icy 

that tl^cyw 'of r'"'''"'^ ='"'•'■-' I ' 
y we, col the ;;,m<v7,vc tribe, an(loft,,e 





' i 
' r. 

, ( 

j ; 

¥ \ 


suair OK i.ANu. 

species of greenfinches ; which in America are 

From the arrival of these unfortunate guests, 
our course was, for a considerable time, tole- 
rably good and undisturbed by storms. Had 
the sea again visited our cabins, I know not 
how we should have resisted the cold, which 
was already most piercing, destitute as we were 
of fire, or any means of warming ourselves. 

At length on the Gth of February, feeble as 
I was, I climbed up the main-mast and called 
out •' Mountains! " The captain, with a sarcastic 
smile and his usual civility, replied that the 
mountains I saw were clouds. I confess I de- 
served to be laughed at, for the mountains in 
that part of America are at more than 200 miles 
from the coast, which was not very near us ; but 
a mountaineer dreams only of mountains, as a 
fisherman does of nets and hooks. 

On the 8th we saw, not mountains but forests, 
which, from the flatness of the ground, seemed 
to rise out of the ocean. We also discovered the 
mouth of the Delaware, between Cape May on 
the north, and Cape Henlopen on the south; but 
from contrary winds we were not able to double 
the latter before the 11th. We had a pilot 
who steered the vessel from thence, between the 
dangerous banks of the bay and river, as far as 
Philadelphia. Thus we arrived at the last act of 






this tragi-comedy, and the denouement was asacz 
piaisant. It was a true Kpopca; and, what is bet- 
ter, a Helen was tlie causa nia/i tanti. Voii must 
have understood before now, my dear Countess, 
that my good Knglishwoman had not discouraged 
the attentions of the mate. To do her justice, 
however, I must confess that he was an attrac- 
tive young fellow, and the opportunity was ex- 
tremely prod'iwate. Besides, confined as she 
had so long been in this terrible prison, subject 
to every species of privation, and to every 
temptation that could beset her, it was to be 
expected that a little gallantry would be the 
eft'ect of so many powerful causes. I had fore- 
seen that t/iis was to be an episode in the 
drama : but, as she had not purchased a rieht 
to occupy a place in the cabin, and ^ s the cap- 
tain had, in a few days, generously offered it to 
her, she had not been able to resist the tender 
declarations with which he also every now and 
then entertained her. The accursed and almost 
inseparable companion of love, who spares 
neither the cottage nor the palace, neither the 
crew of a ship nor the inmates of a family, 
took posession of the heart of the mate ; and, 
as she was extremely free in the use of her 
tongue, and not very delicate as to the senti- 
ments she inspired, she provoked him to strike 
her. Not being disposed patiently to bear this 

\ !< 


'1 ( 


!i fi 

\i : 


I 1 

P^ I 



outrage, she courageously returned his blows, 
and hence ensued a noisy scuffle, which at- 
tracted the attention of the persons in the ship. 
The captain undertook, as it might be expected, 
the defence of his Dulcinea more warmly than 
he had before undertaken that of his Sancho 
Panza. Thus our champions valiantly entered 
the field of battle, and as, to the honour of the 
English, there is no danger of their having re- 
course to the stiletto, I let them take their fill 
of fighting. As to our pirates, no suffering 
inflicted on the whole species would have in- 
duced them to raise a finger : at last, however, 
Mr James interfered, and effected a separation 
in a manner which added much to the interest 
of the scene. He happened to have his plates 
in his hand, preparing to lay the cloth. The 
two gladiators came in contact with him, — the 
shock, together with the rolling of the ship, 
caused him to lose the centre of gravity, and 
laid him prostrate : the awful sound of broken 
plates was the signal of retreat, and put an end 
to the battle. Providence, by this last incident, 
harmonized all around us ; for what is the use 
of plates, without something to eat ? They were 
an insult to our misery. For my own part, I 
rejoiced at it, and the cause made me laugh. 

It is a pity that Calliope turned her back upon 
me ; otherwise I might, en badinant, have had a 




fine opportunity of introducing myself to the 
notice of the world, by a grand poem, adorned 
with every diversity of colour; an cpobaterion- 
propemptko - ekgiaco - epkcdio,, - thrcno - .oUrico - 
epuludamico . gcethliaco - e.v.getico - nautico - .„ic 
poem. After this long word, my dear Countess 
you must take breath. 

Some ill-natured critics might perhaps find 
Jault with my poem for deficiency in great cha- 
racters and a moral. To a philosopher, how- 
ever the heroes of Homer, and most other poets 

mate Mr James, aud my Helen: and, as for a 
moral, it is probably to be found only in Tele- 

We are now in the bay of the Delaware • 
a large basin about twenty-four miles in width 
?nd length, which is considered the mouth of 
this river At length then we are upon the 
shores of this great continent, the honour of 
naming which was snatched from its Genoese 
discoverer by a Florentine, and which awa- 
ken, in the heart of an Italian that national, which the stranger, not content with op- 
pressing our unhappy land, has always striven 
to degrade and to stifle. This continent, as 
wel as Europe, Asia, and Africa, will iZ 
recall to the memory the bold enterprizes, the 

\ f^ 




1 { 

n I 

t 1^ 




important discoveries, the courage, and the glory 
of our ancestors. 

Cape May, and the countries to the right, as 
far as the river Hudson, in ascending the bay 
and the river, belong to New Jersey : Cape 
Henlopen (formerly Cape St James's) and all 
the country to the left, as far as the bay of 
Chesapeake, '"uce belonged to Pennsylvania, 
but now form the state of Delaware, created 
since the formation of these colonies, into a con- 
federate and independent republic. 

At the bottom of the bay the bed of the river 
contracts, though still in some places three or 
four miles in breadth. But the view of the 
country speaks to the mind only by the ideas 
and reflections it suggests. The eye sees nothing 
but a flat country and vast forests, intersected 
at considerable intervals, by a few scattered 
farms or hamlets, almost as far as Newcastle, 
where the country begins to be more populous, 
more flourishing, and more diversified by plain, 
hill, and valley. 

From Newcastle, a delightful little commercial 
town belonging also to the state of Delaware, 
you ascend the river forty-five miles ; and there, 
amid the windings of the Delaware, and, as 
it were, from the bosom of a majestic forest, 
emerges that stately city which is considered 

* 4 

¥: I 


•■^ "^' ■ B i 



the largest and most important in all America • 
and on whose site, before the time of Penn the 
savage chased the bear and the panther. Two 
miLes farther, it rises before you in all its majesty 
and extent, from north to south, commanding 
this superb river, which is still above a mile in 
breadth although more than one hundred and 
.ifty miles from its mouth ; and which, with the 
tide, conveys large three-mast vessels to the 
very doors of the opulent inhabitants. There we 
received the visit of the proprietors of the vessel 
of the arrival of which they had been informed 
by signal from Cape Henlopen. They believed 
she had experienced the fate of many others 
^ had been lost during the last two months' 
and although they knew that she was in the 
river, the floating masses of ice which covered its 
surface made them very uneasy; so tliat, in spite 
of her shattered condition, they thought them- 
selves happy at seeing her at all. And here I 
"."St stop one moment to pronounce the partin-^ 
eulogium on my friend the captain. 

I cannot advise the Americans to send him 
forth as a specimen of the nation, or of the gene 
rous sentiments which they so proudly arrogate • 
.f they do, they will stand a chance of bein: 
considered as Turks, or perhaps worse. But 
as a sailor, prepared to battle with every storm 
he may justify their boast of the probability thai 



% ■ 

A * 
i * 


r ; I 



w 1 

America will become one of the most formidable 
maritime powers in the world. I spoke to him 
very plainly about his barbarian manners ; but 
I willingly forgave him, in consideration of his 
address and courage in those dreadful storms, 
when the elements seemed every instant to 
threaten o^ir destruction ; I therefore forgot my 
indignation, and converted a notice of his private 
behaviour, which in my wrath I had intended to 
insert in the newspapers, into an honourable cer- 
tificate to his public conduct. The only revenge 
in which I indulged was, to pay him my passage 
without any discussion or allusion to the shame- 
ful violation of his engagements, which he obvi- 
ously expected ; in short, without saying a 
single woid, good or bad ; and when he saw 
this accompanied by his certificate, which cer- 
tainly he did not expect, he looked extremely 
mortified. As for the mate, my dear Countess, 
it is impossible to describe to you his indefatiga- 
ble activity, his courage, intelligence, and expe- 
rience, at the early age of twenty-one. He quite 
captivated me. Is it, therefore, surprising that 
he should have captivated one of that sex whose 
hearts are so much more tender and impressible ? 
For this unhappy woman I feel real and deep 
compassion : she is in despair at the prospect 
of meeting her husband in a situation which 
revea's her fault. Let us drop the curtain on 


w? iaa» a gKma<t3MaMM a ai B« 










our drama, before we reach the catastrophe of 

T^TT-u""""''' ^''"' ' ^'^'' "^^ truly tragal 
or behold the „.iseries which the 
have^already sa.led for Cuba, are preparing to 

Thus then, my dear Madam, the 2 1st instant 
after three months and a half of suffering and,tudes, ordinary and extraordinary, brings 
"S to he end of this voyage; which, a thoufl 
three thousand five hundred miles, is generally 
performed m thirty or forty days. Happy shall 
I be ,f [ am permuted to tell you the end of my 
fuur.wander.ngs. I wish this letter may fini 

that """'' "°" ''"P'"""^ *- I ^'^- and 
that It may convey to you, without delay, the 

expression of my Transatlantic friendship 


f I 


) ■ 







^t - 





i ) 




r a 

Pittsburg, March Z\st 1823. 

I WRITE to you from a place, my dear Madam, 
which only fifty years ago even the colonists 
of America regarded as the end of the civilized 
world; in which white men and red men 
hunted each other by turns like wild beasts ; 
a place where I am opposite to you on the other 
side of a branch of the Apalachian mountains, 
the highest in North America, as you are op- 
posite to me on the other side of a branch of the 
Apennines, some of the highest in Europe. In 
short. Madam, we are pretty nearly foot to foot, 
if the world be really a ball. I do not like this.' 
I had much rather be face to face; and am 
tempted to go over to the party of the reverend 
father inquisitor, who, in his zeal for burning, 
wanted to burn the antipodes ;— perhaps for the 
same reason. 

Formerly a man who had wandered hither 




would have been given up for lost; now that 

"shing countries in the world- it i, T k 

the pnrth ;c ..11 , """a. it is so, because 

Ie« writil . ' "'"' "" ''Wy invention of 

aher ^' ""''' '"y ^^""^ Countess, is 

rather „,,y th,„ ,^^, ^^^ ^^_^ .^s 

yo" h^ :r ircr"'""^""'- -' ^ '-'' 

yet about people, manners, sects, &c. &c for 
you must be sensible that, in forty days I 'can 
not be prepared with very satisfactory'a;swers" 

tosa :/ "'"™ '° ^'^^^^ P^^^ I wil/endeavo ; 
to satisfy your curiosity; but, for the present we 
must content ourselves with rambling I't: 
l.ttle, and must only pause long enough to loofc 

know where we are ; and to observe en passanT^ 
most striking and interesting objecrofn/t 
and art. so that we mav iu,t b. t. . "'''' 

have been there, "Zirte'imtjrc'o"^ 



\ ■■> 


.1 f 



\ ^J' < 



my researches and reflexions into the character 
and institutions of the people. 

Let us begin with Pennsylvania, — if it be 
but to know the derivation of its name. 

This state forms a part of those immense re- 
gions, the coasts of which were discovered in the 
reign of Elizabeth, by the celebrated Italian na- 
vigator, Sebastian Cabotto, who was also the first 
to set on foot a commercial intercourse between 
Russia and England. These regions now com- 
prise South Labrador, Lower Canada, Nova 
Scotia, and all the eastern states of the Union. 

He planted a colony, first in the island which 
he called Terra Nuova, a name which it still re- 
tains ; afterwards in that part of the continent 
called the Carolinas ; and lastly, in that which 
he himself christened Virginia, in honour of the 
Virgin Queen, in whose behalf all these disco- 
veries were made. 

This latter colony was the only one which 
prospered at the time, and all these countries 
were then dependencies of Virginia ; so that a 
little colony possessed an extent of territory 
greater than the whole of Europe. What was 
afterwards called Pennsylvania belonged there- 
fore originally to Virginia. 

Hudson afterwards ascended the river which 
bears his name, and discovered the country 

r ! 





through which it flows, afterwards called New 
York. He thought himself proprietor of it — 
perhaps under the auspices and sanction of Alex- 
ander VFs bull, — and ceded it all to the Dutc'i, 
together with much unexplored country, part 
of which was the district now forming the states 
of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware ; 
which the Dutch called New Belgium. 

James I, and Virginia on his behalf, protested 
against this sale : the peace of Breda revoked 
it, and it reverted to the English. A great part 
of the land was afterwards granted to the heir of 
Penn, an English admiral, in payment of sums 
due to him from the government, and from him 
it was called Pennsylvania, or Penn's forests ; for 
at that time it was all forest, inhabited only by 
savages and wild beasts. 

The history of Penn and of Pennsylvania, is in- 
timately connected with that of the Quakers. 
It is the history of a true patriarch, and a good 
legislator; of the gentle and humane manners of 
the best ages of the world ; of the true morality 
of the Gospel. I think therefore you will not be 
displeased if I gi e you a slight sketch of it. 
Yon might otherwise think I passed with insen- 
sibility and indifference over a country which is 
perhaps the only true theatre of that golden age, 
which everybody talks of, though nobody knows 
when or where to place its existence. 

Quakerism, if we are to believe its votaries, is 

A, I 




' SI 







as old as Cliristianity. They go so far as to say 
that Jesus Christ was the first Quaker, and that 
they do but tread in his footste})s. Thence they 
trace their austere morals, their simple and 
patriarchal manners, their hospitality, their hu- 
mility, their truly Christian charity, their aversion 
to all the pleasures of worldly vanity, to pomp, 
luxury, and intemperance ; their horror for war; 
(and not from fear of death, which they, living in 
just'itia et eqiiitatc, have perhaps less reason to 
dread than any other persons, but from genuine 
humanity and philanthropy ;) thence that har- 
mony, that true brotherhood, which reigns among 
them, and which ought to serve as an example 
and model to those who pretend to excel in 
the Christian virtues, and who demand that 
all the rest of the world should take them as 
models only because they demand it. 

The Quakers say that they do not baptize, 
because Jesus Christ never baptized as we do ; 
that they should be disciples of John and not 
of Christ if they did : — that John himself said 
that another would come who would baptize by 
fire ; and that Christ did baptize his apostles in 
the tabernacle by the fire of the Holy Spirit ; — 
that they believe themselves baptized by this same 
spirit, and inspired with what they ought to say 
and to do, rectum et divumm, on earth ; that Jesus 
Christ never made obeisances with his hat, nor 
required others to make them to him ; — that he 


! I. 

'i' t 





never used any otlier appellative than the second 
person sin'»ular ; — and that they do not find in the 
Bible, or in any other sacred book, the titles of 
our terrestrial divinities, — majcMijy /lig/uicss, cmi- 
jicuce, e.vcdloicc, grace, rcvcrctwe, kc. Sec. They 
assert that after the death of our divine master, 
his principles became corrupted, but that there 
were always some few good Quakers disjiersed 
about the world who kept alive the sacred fire; 
until Fox arose in 1G42, and kindled it into fresh 
brightness and vigour in England. It was pre- 
cisely the period at which three or four hostile 
sects tore Great Britain with civil wars, as cruel 
as they were fanatical, which gave birth to the 
most tolerant, the most humane of all which 
have sprung from Christianity — the sect of the 

The young and ardent Penn, though educated 
in the orthodox principles of the University of 
Oxford, was warmed by this sacred flame, and 
became one of the most zealous proselytes of the 
new apostle of England. His eloquence made 
many converts among the men, and his beauty and 
sweet expression still more among the women. 
His father's interest and money were often em- 
ployed to rescue him from prison and from per- 
secution. He even quarrelled with his father, 
who was of the orthodox faith, but their mutual 
aftection re-united them ; at length, being left 




i ', 


i i 




..' ' ■! 

sole licir of liis lather's property, which was 
considerable, and al)S()lute proprietor of an im- 
mense territory in America, he tnrned liis back 
on persecutions and persecutors, and came h.Jier 
with Fox and a great number of his followers 
to j)lant the standard of his faith, and of the 
generous and humane principles which charac- 
terized it. 

Here then, my dear Madam, you have a 
Quaker turned sovereign; — invested with the 
right of making laws, of establishing a govern- 
ment, of granting lands, of levying taxes, &c. 
The use which Penn made of this right, places 
him in the rank of the greatest benefactors of 
his race. He converted tb vhole of the vast 
province which had been granted to his father, 
and which, as I have already told you, he called 
Pennsylvania, into one great theatre of benefi- 
cence, industry, and of the purest morality. 

After he had rendered this country a secure 
asylum for himself and his brethren, he turned 
his attention to the means of providing for their 
future wants, without molestation to the Swedish 
and Dutch settlers, who already cultivated a 
part of it, and who readily submitted to a ruler 
as just as he was benevolent. 

He granted a thousand acres of land to any 
man who applied for it (for twenty pounds, and 
a small yearly rent) ; he gave fifty acres to every 



I' i i 
If F ' 

> -, 



young man and young woman, who had been 
engaged for some time, and had com])lcted tlicir 
term of service ; and the same quantity to every 
married couple, who had no means of paying for 
it. An equitable treaty j)rotected the colonists 
against the incursions of the Indians, and wise 
laws secured them in the enjoyment of their 
liberty and property. He decreed that every man 
who acknowledged the existence of a God, might 
be admitted a citizen, and that every Christian 
was eligible to every office of state ; that every 
one was at liberty to invoke the Great Being in 
the manner most satisfactory to his own con- 
science ; that no one was compelled to furnish 
contributions or tithes for the building of temples. 
In order to deserve the most perfect protection 
the colony could afford, it was only necessary to 
take an oath of obedience to the crown, and 
fidelity to the lord proprietor. The Quakers, 
who never mingle the Deity in human affairs, 
and consequently do not take oaths, merely pro- 
mise by a yes or a wo, and their simple affirma- 
tion is more sacred and inviolable than the 
pretended religious formulcR of many other 
Christians, who perjure themselves upon the 

Lastly, Penn resolved that no tax should be 
imposed, or law enacted, without the consent of 
all the inhabitants of the colony, whose age and 





: ^{ 

sex rendered them fit to vote, and reserved no 
other power to himself than that of watching 
over the security and happiness of his province. 

He divided it into counties, in each of which 
he established a court, where justice was to be 
administered gratis ; justices of the peace, arbi- 
trators, &c. ; in order, as far as possible, to banish 
or to prevent chicanery and litigation. Such, in 
a word, were his justice and generosity, that, 
not thinking his right to the possession of these 
lands established by the cession of England 
alone, he treated with the Indians for theirs, and 
purchased it on equitable terms, and by the 
common consent of all the contracting parties. 
So just was his conduct in this treaty, that the 
name of Penn is still held in the greatest reve- 
rence among the Indians ; and, when they have 
any treaty to conclude with the present Ameri- 
can nation, they always invoke the same spirit 
of loyalty and sanctity which dictated that of 
Penn with their ancestors. 

You may readily imagine, my dear Madam, 
that everybody would be eager to live under the 
protection of such a government and such a 
legislator; equal, perhaps superior, to any whom 
antiquity can boast : — a legislator, who founded 
all his institutions on the solemn guarantees of 
property and liberty, and of the most extensive 
toleration. Pennsylvania accordingly was soon 

W S' 

"jr^'S-iSiW ,»-V 




the resort of numerous European and American 
families, who brought with them industry, arts 
manufactures, and commerce ; and rendered it 
the most flourishing colony in the world. It is 
now one of the most important states of the 

The diversity of nations, religions, and la^, 
guages, might have given cause to apprehend 
that jealousy, and those hoctile feelino-s which 
are frequently the ruin of ancient establish- 
ments and the great obstacle to the formation 
of new ones; but, such was the wisdom of the 
legislator, that the utmost concord and harmony 
prevailed. Every individual readily contributed 
his own labours in the Lords vineyard, to ensure 
the well-being, physical and moral, of the ffreat 
family. ° 

As all enjoyed an unrestrained and equal 
freedom, no man envied the liberty of another 
Though the Quakers were the most numerous of 
the various sects assembled round the banner 
of toleration, though the legislator was himself 
a Quaker, they enjoyed no other precedency or 
supremacy over others than what they obtained 
by the excellence of their example and the prac- 
tice of all the Christian virtues. If the^e was 
not unity of opinion, there was perfect co-opera- 
tion m beneficence ; and even where there was 
not the common bond of Christianity, that of 





, * 


4 I 

' ^ 

humanity was sufficient to check the spirit of 
fanaticism, persecution, and intolerance. Such, 
in short, were their union, tlieir mutual senti- 
ments of philanthropy, that they took or re- 
ceived the name of the Philadelphi. 

It was necessary to build some great and per- 
manent monument, as a lasting record of the 
foundation of this holy colony, and accordingly, 
Pcnn planned and built its capital, Philadelphia. 
During the war of independence, it was the ca- 
pital of the whole Union, and is now that of the 
state of Pennsylvania ; that is to say, it is the 
centre of the most important business and com- 
merce and institutions of the state ; but Harris- 
burg is the true capital. Harrisburg is more 
central, and American wisdom supplies the de- 
ficiency of commerce by the resources necessa- 
rily arising from the seat of the magistracy and 
the bustle of a metropolitan city. 

I shall not detain you long at Philadelphia or 
anywhere else, for, to reach this place (Pittsburg) 
in the short time that has elapsed, it is clear that 
we must not stay long, nor observe minutely. 
For the present, then, we will content ourselves 
with a superficial glance at what falls in our 
way in the country through which we pass, 
and with noting its origin and progress. 

Philadelphia is built in the form of a paral- 
lelogram, lying north and south, in a peninsula 

f ^ 





formed by the Delaware and the Schulkyll, 
which meet five miles lower down, where a fort[ 
built by the Union, commands both these rivers! 
Having told you how recently it has emerged from 
Its surrounding forests, you will learn with sur- 
prise that it already contains I ] 5,000 inhabitants. 
Ask the countries under the sway of intolerance, 
whether population encreases thus with them?' 
Jt contains large squares, which are laid out those of England with grass-plats and trees ; 
almost everything about them is English If 
one could sleep through the whole passage, 
and wake in the United States, one might be- 
lieve oneself still in England, at least so far as 
externals go. The houses are English. The 
Americans have constructed some large build- 
ings, to be more .} CAnglaise, and have com- 
pleted the resemblance by similar architectural 
extravagances. Like the English, they will 
insist on knowing cvciything of themselves 
without being in the slightest degree indebted 
to foreigners. This sort of conceit is not very 
favourable to their architecture, though exceed- 
ingly so to their patriotism : they would how- 
ever do wisely to keep to the simple. If they 
will uscend to the heights of Pantheons, Par- 
thenons, Capitols, &c. they must learn, and 
they must go and study in those countries where 

«^^— — — 







*' if 


the art is understood, or get foreigners to come 
and teach them what they do not know. 

There is a university which enjoys some re- 
putation ; there is a philosophical society for 
the encouragement of science and letters; a 
museum of natural history; a public library 
bequeathed to the town by the celebrated 
Franklin; hospitals, which are not, at present, 
very well managed, except that of Pennsyl- 
vania, in which the patients pay for attendance. 
In this hospital. West has left his country a 
splendid memorial of his talents; his picture of 
Christ Healing the Sick is certainly one of the 
chef crmivres of modern art. 

There are many handsome churches for va- 
rious modes of worship. The Catholic church 
of St Mary has lately been the scene of great 
scandal. The congregation actually came to 
open blows about a priest who was the choice 
of the people, but rejected by the bishop and 
his partisans ; this is the way in which our holy 
religion is everywhere honoured and recom- 
mended by the conduct of its professors. 

The institutions for public education are very 
numerous. They build as many schools as 
churches, and manufactures and arts have 
already made astonishing progress. 

I have reserved the markets as a bonne bouc/ie, 



for they are really beautiful, and the quantity 
and excellence of the provisions, and game of 
every description, is a novel and striking sight to 
a stranger. The great building on the Schulkyll, 
containing the engines for raising all the water for 
the use of the town, is a grand work and deserves 
a volume to itself: it is therefore out of the reach 
of a man who flies along like the stage coaches 
of England, or of the steam boats of America. 
The season was moreover very unfavourable to 
any examination of a work of this kind, for all 
the water was frozen, and one walked upon the 
Schulkyll and Delaware just as securely as in 
the Tuilleries. If we had arrived a week later, 
I should have ascended the Delaware in a car- 
riage or on horseback. Your curiosity about 
Philadelphia is not satisfied, 1 know; — so much 
the better. You will be the more glad to return. 

Let us set out for Washington, and travel 
with all expedition, that we may reach it before 
the dissolution of Congress. 

At the distance of a mile from Philadelphia 
we cross the Schulkyll by a magnificent wooden 
bridge of bold and wonderful construction. 

At Chester, fifteen miles from Philadelphia, is 
a fine manufactory of cloth, established by a 
Frenchman, and worked by the Chester river. 
But of these you have seen enough in France. 

We crossed the Susquehana on the ice. It 
is a great river, sixty-six miles from Philadel- 

' 1 





( ' 

W I' 

)/ 1 


i i 

phia. Its western sources are in the Appalachian, 
and its northern in the Chenectady mountains. 
It flows into the Chesapeake. 

You want to stop a moment at Baltimore. 
Well, one moment; — but take care we do not 
forget ourselves, for it is a delightful town ; — 
I prefer it, on every account, greatly to Philadel- 
phia, ft might easily seduce us into a long 

This province was also part of Virginia. 
Charles I. gave lord Baltimore all the land lying 
between the Potowmac, which was its boundary 
on the side of Virginia, and the Susquehana, which 
divided, and still divides it from Pennsylvania, on 
the other. Lord Baltimore called it Maryland, in 
honour of Queen Mary, and built a town, which 
he also called Mary, or St Mary. He was a Ca- 
tholic, and converted this territory into a refuge 
for Catholics ; but by a fatality, which seems to 
attend Catholicism, that colonies founded under 
its auspices never prosper in this world, (perhaps 
because the prosperity of the faithful is reserved 
until their final migration to another), division and 
discord found their way among the inhabitants ; 
the town, instead of encreasing, shrunk to a mise- 
rable village ; the colonists were poor and lazy ; 
busied in nothing but attempts to convert the 
savages to a religion which they prophaned and 
dishonoured, instead of recommending it by 
evangelical morality, union, and courage. Such, 





lord found himself compelled to get an act ap- 
proved by the general assembly, by which every 
man who was a Christian was admitted to an 
enjoyment of all the advantages common to the 
ancient colonists, and of perfect indulgence and 
toleration for his political and religious opinions. 
T^s act attracted a great number of families of 
different creeds. The colony prospered, the city 
encreased, and the Indians retired at the sight 
of these new auxiliaries, whose orderly habits 
good morals, and firm measures of defence, awed 
them into respect and submission 

But, my dear Countess, you must not fall into 
the mistake of thinking that the city of Bait ! 
more, though thriving, was really a city. Any 
P ace was then called a city which was the sea^ 
o a colonia establishment. Fifty years ago it 
d^ not perhaps contain a hundred houses; it 

ZisTVr '""'"'' *°"'^»'* i"''=^bitai ts, 
and IS on of the most flourishing towns in the 

union It commands the northern side of the 

great bay of Chesapeake, more than two hun! 

dred mi es from the sea, and is surrounded by 

beaut, ul hills and magnificent country-houses 

tis the most important town of Maryland 

i andlrt f *'^ ^^P''^' ■' ''"'^ -^ *--" - 





\l ..I: 


It has been called Baltimore ever since it be- 
came part of the union. The Catholic church 
alone, which has a bishop, has retained the name 
of St Mary's. 

The town is pretty and cheerful in all parts. 
The streets and houses are perfectly brilliant 
with neatness ; the churches are handsome, and 
some magnificent ; the exchange, surmounted 
by a large tent-shaped cupola, is a large and 
rich building. The column erected to the me- 
mory of Washington is perhaps the most gigantic 
existing, but it is very ill placed ; and the ascent 
to tho gallery round the capital is by an internal 
staircase, without the least air-hole ; so that you 
are almost dead before you reach the top, from 
the foulness of the air. A colossal statue of 
Washington is to be placed, I know not when, 
on a plinth upon the capital. 

In a pretty little square, surrounded by the 
handsomest houses in the town, public and pri- 
vate, is another monument, in commemoration 
of the battle of North Point, fought five miles to 
the south-east of Baltimore in the last war be- 
tween the English and Americans. It cannot be 
to commemorate the victori/, for certainly this was 
not the best scene of their valour or their glory. 
With fifteen or sixteen thousand men, who had 
the choice of their ground, and time for prepara- 
tion, it surely could not be very difficult to take 





five or s,x thousand English, ^vhom general 
Koss s imprudence had delivered into their hands 
lh,s imprudence, however, cost only his life- for 
the A„,ericans suffered nearly the whole of his 
little arn,y to escape, and to re-cn.bark nearly 
as easily as they landed. When I was shew 
ing you the monument at the Seven Mountains 
on thn ij„ne, I remarked that nothinif I)linds 
pnnees so effectually as flattery ; here we find 
u lias the same effect on republics. 

Baltimore has a great number of philanthro- 
l«eal institutions, and of places of public instruc- 
tion : ,t ,s a very interesting town in every 

respect; and, if I were to live in the United 
S ates, I ,,ad rather live at Baltimore than at 
Pliiladelphia. The latter has many noble recol- 
lections and associations, but apparently the 
inhabitants are contented with this stock for 
It does not seem to me that they are in the way 
to add to It. Philadelphia is not the place to .^o 
for amiable or courteous manners; and in the 
Ingher classes I thought I perceived symptoms 
of an Illiberal and spiteful ambition. Let us 
go on to Washington. 

The road from Baltimore to Washington has 
nothing interesting. Washington has not lon<^ 
been to be found in the map of America ll 
stands on the northern shore of the Potowmac 
It arose, together with the prosperity of the 

\'ltT 11 








United States, after the termination of the war 
of independence, under the auspices of the great 
citizen whose name it bears. The ground on 
which it stands belonged to Maryland. This 
state consented to give it for the site of the 
capital of the whole union. Virginia also granted 
a portion on the southern bank, and thus was 
formed the district of Columbia, that is to say, 
a certain circumference round the city, which 
serves as a sort of (tppanai^c or anti-chamber to 
the queen-city of America. Perhaps 1 am using 
this epithet rather rashly ; but the influence she 
exercises on this new world, already so asto- 
nishingly mature, seems to justify me even at 
this moment, and time will justify me yet more 
fully. There are some things in which rash- 
ness is more shewn in rejecting too much than 
in believing too much. 

The Capitol is a large building, in a situation 
worthy of a name of such awful grandeur. It 
commands the whole city, which, like all infant 
cities whose origin is to be found in political 
causes alone, and whose growth is not hastened 
and directed by commerce, still consists of 
scattered sections. From its western balcony 
you look down the whole of the High street, 
which begins at the foot of this building, and, 
crossing the city for nearly two miles, terminates 
at another elevation, upon which, directly front- 







ing tlic Capitol, stands the president's Iiouse. 
This edifice (the C'apitol) is vast, and might have 
been rendered grand, if the Bostonian architect 
had not preferred the new to the regular ; — if he 
had not thought extravagancies more striking than 
the rules of art, harmony too monotonous, and 
fantastic embellishments grand and magnificent. 
Such probably were the tastes that induced him 
to place on the outside the grand staircase lead- 
ing to the dome which rises majestically in 
the centre of the eastern facade. So grand an 
edifice, and one bearing so stately a name, ought 
to have had a majestic entrance, where carriages 
might have set down the members of congress at 
the foot of a grand interior staircase, then crossed 
a court and passed out on the other side. The 
architect probably thought this too aristocratical 
an indulgence, and accordingly he makes them 
alight democratically in the rain. 

The great dome is handsome, but would be 
more so if it were not so dark in the inside. 
On either side of it is a large hall, one for the 
lower chamber, or representatives, the other for 
the upper, or senators. The first is a magnifi- 
cent room, in the form of a crescent, and ?i fora- 
men, after the manner of the ancients, lights it 
from the top of the ceiling ; but thick columns, 
perfectly idle and useless, and galleries of too 
great depth, round the whole concave part, im- 
pede and absorb the voice, so that it is ex- 



' ill! 

f i 



< \ PI t Ol 

ti'i'iucl) tiiliii'iiU to \\r,\\ III il. rii(< sinliir o| 
l.ilxMly. wliicli prcsiiUs in this truly iiiii^iist 
t'(»ni;r('ss, is placed in ii most sin^njiir situation. 
She is icposino '»n tho foinicc wliich inns <|iiit«' 
roiimi tlio hall ahovi* the r;\i',\\ |HlIars. \(\\\ svv 
hor. I»nt you iiinnot «iislin:;nish her. Thr sla- 
tuo ilst'lC was only a inodrl which the Italian 
artist, whom thc\ seni lor on purpose, pre- 
sented lor approbation ; hut tlie honourahic l',*'"- 
tlcnu'u apparently thought it so hcautilnl. tliaf, 
they contented themselves with the plaster, 
so that the poor artist is still waiting, and |)io- 
bahly will loni; remain so. lor tlu* ord(>r to 
cxt'cnte it in marblcv And indeed a statue ol' 
marble on a cornice would have a most threatcMi- 
in_i»" a|)jiiMranci\ and mi^ht cndaiii;i'r the head 
of the spt^aker who sits directly under it. 

The hall ol' the senatt^ is much smaller and 
more modi\s|, but it is also handsome. 'I'hc sii- 
prcnuM'onrt, which has conp.i/.anciM)!" all the law 
atVairs of tlu^ union, holds its sittiiiLi^s lher(\ in a 
room which is \vell-coptriv(^l, if not ma<;nilicent. 
There is t^viMi a little closet in which th(< attorn(>y- 
Uoncral keeps his breakfast, which I saw him cat. 
in very l^ihhI earnest and without the slightest 
constraint, in lull court and in tlu^ midst of the 
audience. The library, which is still without 
books, is a tine room : all the rest lias rather the 
air t)1'a monastery than a palace. 

The I'hiulish. as you know, made a descent 




< ON(,|u,H.S. 

"';""" '.""" ""!„. h,s, w,„- ,,„,„„, 

"■^ ^"^'"- "■■■'■•'""■ -I.'.- . n..w (■„,„. „„„ 

""<• 'O'UldlcMMMldyNln'llfM vv|,„.|, 

• '.,^<i<'s.s your lli(iii.r|,|s ,|,..„. ..„. , 

'''•''Vvu,vs,.,,,,,.,-.,o,i,.(i.,,.h,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,„; 

; "' "":■ '•"-in,„,„s; ,iK. in.i,.p.,„i,,„,. 


".''■'--■ ■'■" '-'-nn any i,,ea of ,,(,. , 
I'alMls wind, i„||,„,„„. ,. .. , "\ """"' 

will har<lly n.,lKt,>s ;. '^^^^•^'"•^'•''PPoarancc 

-; yon,,nstwl,at.,saw,a„,,,...w,,.,.n,c 
'ancc a.s iJ,o, gentlemen „/s, ,s„.,,|,,,„ (.,,,^l,^., ^ 







^ i 




n f 




they have to do with a people more jealous, more 
suspicious, more vigilant, and this keeps them a 
little in order ; nor are elections bought so easily 
as in England : nevertheless one sees that they 
have an extreme mind to ape them if they dared. 
Perhaps they w^ill succeed when they are richer, 
and the people more docile and more habituated 
to regard them as tlcmi-mvereigns. 

This is no place, too, i^, enter into a disquisi- 
tion on the details of the government, much as 
I know you desire to hear all you can on that 
interesting subject. Its fundamental basis you 
doubtless know ; I will give you such a slight 
idea of its composition as I have been able to 
form for myself. 

The twenty-four states which compose the 
union have, by a perfectly new political system, 
the sovereignty of this vast empire divided among 
themselves ; at the same time concentrating the 
general government in the neutral city of Wash- 
ington, which belongs to all and to none ; and in 
which the Americans meet yearly, as the Am- 
phictyonic council met at Delphi ; whilst, like 
the members of the Achaean league, each state 
has its particular government. You must under- 
stand me as well as you can ; for the present 1 
cannot explain myself better. 

1 must say a word about the President, were 
it only to have the pleasure of telling you the 

;) (' 




strange way in which I entered his apartment 
1 went to the door of the President's house -I 
found ,t open, and walked in ; [ turned in rain 
on every side to find some one of whom to en- 
quire for him; there was nobody. Nearly 
opposite the entrance of the vestibule I saw a 
door open ;~l advanced, crossed a room, asked 
at another door whether I might go in ;-nobody 
answered i asked again and again, like a Swiss 
-at last an old man, in leather-breeches, top- 
boots, and spurs, with a riding-whip in his hand 
came up to me: " Is the president at home'" 
said I; '■ can I have the honour of seeing him'" 
" Vou do see him," replied he, " ] am the pre- 
sident, at your service." I found that 1 was still 
the mountaineer who comes gaping down to 
the low-lands full of admiration and awe for 
everythmg superior and venerable ; I could not 
utter a word. But his kind courtesy soon re- 
lieved me from the embarrassment into which 
I was thrown Dy his unexpected presence • I 
gave him my letter of recommendation. He re 
ceived and talked to me with the greatest kind- 
ness, and our conversation would perhaps have 
been a long one, had not a .senator, wrapped in a 
great boat cloak, and very muddy, come in loaded 
with papers, and interrupted it. His manners 
were as coarse as those of the president were po- 
lite. I went out by the same way as I had gone 




iioAi) TO I'liTsnuiu; 

I .r\ 


in, and quitted this illustrious chief magistrate 
with an impression of the deepest respect and 

What a difference, my dear Madam, between 
his noble manners and the disgusting morgue of 
a miserable French diplomatist, to whom I was 
afterwards ashamed to have presented a letter 
of introduction ! What a difference between the 
frank and liberal tone of conversation of the one, 
and the pitiful inquisitiveness of the other ! You 
know, doubtless, that the present president is 
James Monroe. We must quit Washington ; but 
it is impossible to do so without being struck 
with a sort of amazement and admiration, and 
filled with a crowd of secret and busy thoughts 
which it is difficult to define. 

The principal interest of the road from Wash- 
ington to Pittsburg arises from the reflection, 
that all these fields, these villages and towns, 
have just arisen, as it were, out of nothing, and 
that they are all the seat of the greatest pros- 
perity and the most perfect and solid liberty. 
The sight of poverty would here be considered a 
phenomenon ; competence and comfort are uni- 

The country is diversified by forests, prairies, 
tilled fields, plains, hills, vallies, mountains, 
rivers, and torrents, so that there is no room for 
monotony, and the eye is continually solicited 


A^fEUlCAN Roads, 


by boundless variety. It passes rapidly from 
the gloomy to the gay, from the lovely to 
the terrific, and vice versa. It is one continuous 
gallery of the finest pictures from the hand of 

The most considerable town on the road is 
Fredcrick's-town in Maryland, forty-five miles 
from Washington. It already contains four 
thousand inhabitants, and is a delightful little 
town. Here I was compelled to halt. We were 
I)acked like red herrings, in a bad stage-coach, 
full of Kentuckians, whom it is really impossi- 
ble to endure. It is a pity that a people so 
brave, mdustrious, and active, should be so 
coarse and insolent : one can and must esteem 
them, but it is a difficult matter to like them. 
As this is the season of their annual migration 
from east to west, and consequently all the 
stages swarm with them, I hired a kind of wag- 
gon and went to Chambersburg in Pennsylva- 
nia, on the road from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. 
It IS a much larger town than Frederick's-town 
Here begins the eastern ascent of the Apalachian 
mountains, which are neither so high nor so hor- 
rible as some geographers represent them. On 
this road they divide into three distinct ridges, 
from north to south. 

The line of the great road, which crosses the.n 
"P to this point, is well chosen, but the road 




. if 

,<? • 


ilsi'ir is «U<l('siul>K>. us an* mIhiosI mII AiiuMiciin 
roatis : indcfd any n^asonahlc man mnsi sec thai 
sunn- linir inusl i^lapsc brlorr an I'asy circnlation 
i-an bt' «)|>imumI (hrouuli (his inii;h(y body. I'lu" 
tltvsfrnf ot (ho wt'sltMii sidr ol \\\v nuiinilains is 
Nvorsrfhan Ihal on IhiMast. >vhi(h also was lobe 
('xprtMiHl ; it is larlluM' iVom \\\v rcwlvc ol' tivili- 
•/.ation. and ncaror (o llu^ ii\i;ion wIumc lliin,t;s ',[vv 
yd in sf<if/f <///(>. Wowcxcv. onr linds ^ood inns 
( viMywIiiMi ; and with (Iumt linr liorsis. which 
lor slron>;lli and lin^ jxMhaps snrpass Iho l*lni;- 
lish. \\\c stasAos {\o mM alon^. 

I was surprisi'd io i\\u\ so lilllo snow a( ihis 
soason t>n niomilains w Inrli niako so much noises 
in tho world, and in a coinilry wiirro ihc t-old is 
niorr intcnso al a lalitndo of l(V' (han it is al T)!)" 
in I\nro|H\ 'I'his roUl is iho vory thin^- whioh 
brings niv rand)lo fo a rloso : ;muI closod il is, 
*\ hat.- xvilhonl a word t>t'tho AnuM'ican wo- 
men ? liuiood, my doar (\iuntoss. thry drsorvc 
tliat 1 should bos|ioak your cstorm lor thoni, 
though iu so short a tiuu^ I do not protond to 
appreciate all their merits. 

They are generally pretty — at least their coun- 
tenanees are extremely interesting to n\e ; they 
are agreeable without ibrwardness, modest with- 
out at^eetation. well-informed without pedantry ; 
and are excellent housewives. In all respects, 
they arc very superior to the men. 


.n»sr,nr ihiona i-ak r; 


Voii !in; iish.iiiNlud. mv you nof, dcjir fVTadum, 
'Iml :iii l<:mo|)(;in should coiuc to Auw.r'wn, pas.s 
v(uy (,(•((.,. I,y Joseph nu<,n;.par(r'H (|(,or', juhI 
not siiy a word ahout hiru. 

\i IS my system never to inention individuals 
'< t eai. say no ^innl ; you know, hesidc^s, that 
IIk' nanu' of huonapartc- died -as it was horn- 
witli Napoleon ; unless indeed it sIk uld revive 
in his son. 

/i// nvoir, my dear (^Mmt(^ss a iittie farther 
— hut where I know not. 

I*. S. (Continue, if you ple;is(-, to send your 
letters throu-h I3ari..^r, Hrothers, and (;.,. L<,„- 


'• r 






li ()• 

l^ETTE R xn. 


I 1, 

tV ■'. 



Confluence of the Ohio and Mismsippi, 

April 20th, 1823. 

I HAVE made another very long and beautiful 
excursion, my dear Countess, since I wrote to 
you from Pittsburg. How nuich do I wish that 
I possessed the pencil of Claude or the pen of 
Dehlle, to place so enchanting a picture before 
your eyes ; or that I were gifted with the saga- 
city of Anacharsis and the wisdom of Mentor*^ I 
could then select and appreciate whatever is cal- 
culated to arrest the attention of the present or 
excite the hopes of future generations, in the 
country through which I have passed. 

I must entreat you to receive with indulgence 
the communications of a man, whose mind so 





often wanders back to those scenes whither the 
love of country and of home are continually re- 
calling him ; where the admiration of the most 
extraordinary virtue, the consolations of the 
noblest friendship, so long and so delightfully 
occupied him ; and whose eyes would fain rest 
only upon what are most difficult to describe,— 
objects which interest his heart. But let us 
return to Pittsburg. 

Pittsburg, before the war of independence, 
was only a small port, called by the name of 
(hi Quhue, when these wilds belonged to the 
French ; and by that of Pitt, when the English 
took possession of it under the ministry of that 
man whom Mr Nicoll, one of his coadjutors in 
parliament, has described better than fame did. 
This fort was at that time one of the bulwarks 
which defended the western frontier of the Eu- 
ropean colonies. At that time, the savages or 
aborigines inhabited all the vast regions which 
now constitute the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illi- 
nois, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, ' Ala- 
bama, and a great part of those of Louisiana, 
Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virgi- 
nia. Pittsburg is now a city, containing abo'lit 
twelve thousand inhabitants. 

The rapidity with which the human species 
has multiplied in these countries is astonishing ; 
it seems as if death had lost his empire in this 


i H 







f. 1 

< , 

i. 4i 





country ; but now it is rich and flourishing, and 
physicians are flocking hither in abundance. 

It would be difficult to find a situation so fur 
inland, and at the same time so favourable to 
internal and external commerce. 

Pittsburg belongs to the state of Pennsylva- 
nia, and is situated at the foot of the western 
slope of the Apalachian or Alleghany mountains, 
which, from Canada to the gulph of Mexico, 
from N.N.E. to S.S.W., divide the United 
States into Eastern and Western. Here, the 
Alleghany and Monongahela rivers unite, and, 
losing their respective names, take that of Ohio, 
which, in the Algonquine or aboriginal language, 
signifies " beautiful river." The former, which 
flows from the north, affords a safe navigation 
as far as Presqu'isle, where, by means of a very 
short land carriage, there is a communication 
with lake Erie. The latter also conveys large 
boats along a course v *" about two hundred 
miles, to within a short distance from its sources 
towards the S. E. in the Apalachian moun- 

Pittsburg is already in a flourishing state ; it 
has a number of manufactories all in great acti- 
vity, and moved by steam. So powerful is the 
mechanism employed in the manufacture of 
nails, that, with my watch in my hand, I have 
seen more than three hundred made in a minute 




w,th the a,d of one man; and in the iron-fo.m- 
dry, the metal is reduced perhaps in still less 
time, from .ts primitive state to that of a polished 
bar of any dimensions or size. In eountries 
where ,t will soon be attempted, as in fo-mer 
.rnes to make the sun move and the earth stand 
still the inventors of these machines would be 
considered as sorcerers, and exposed to the cruel 
punishment inflicted upon our celebrated Ga- 

Untedsllt"'^'^ ''"''"••= ^'™<"''---''^^ 

wa?nf ^"^ Tt'' ^""^^ ^'""^ "■« ^"^"ti<= by 
way of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore 

and sends them to the western states by the 

Ohio, the Muskingum, the Kentucky, the Ten 

nessee, the Cumberland, the MisJssippi, the 

o Iwo'r *''^,^."'f°f Mexico, by the canal 

of Nevv Orleans, lymg „po„ (,,, Mississippi, at 

a short distance from its mouths ; and receives 

he produce of all the countries washed by 

Indies^'''" '"''''' "" ""■'" "' '^''' "^ ""= West 

The steam-boats and other vessels by which 
hey are conveyed, cross these vast countries o 

are fitted up with every possible accommoda- 
tion, and a tolerable degree of neatness. The 
passengers are provided with plain but plentiful 


' 1 1- 


J ' 
1 I*- 






l)rcakfasts and dinners ; with suppers, wliich 
are rendered less heavy by tea ; witli beds, 1(3 
whicli the noise of the water and the niaehinery 
imparts a soporific virtue not to be found else- 
where ; and there is a numerous com])any, 
which is ahiiost always enlivened by some ori- 
ginal character. 

I embarked in one of these steam-])oats on 
the morning of the 1st of April ; and I had ar- 
rived at some distance from Pittsburg, before I 
perceived that the weather was serene, and the 
sky brilliantly illuminated with the rays of the 
ancient God of the land ; for the coal-smoke, 
the only incense which the manufacturing and 
heretical inhabitants otter to their two divi- 
nities, Avarice and Industry, enshrouds the 
sun by day and the stars by night. But for 
this thick cloud, the prospect, at the point 
where these two great rivers meet, surrounded 
by hills, intersected by vallies, and losing itself 
in the romantic distance, would have been much 
more picturesque and surprising. 

The appearance of the two bridges by which 
the city communicates with the opposite banks 
of the two rivers, was quite enchanting, aided as 
it was by the effect of the mist. The bridges are 
built entirely of wood, resting upon stone pillars, 
and are chcfs-irceuvre of their kind. The tim- 
ber-work is admirably united, and supports, as 







'y 'nagic the fiat arclics, which, although held 
oget ,e,- by the sole cftbct of,e, are of a 
con.,dc,able span. They are beautif;,! ,Jl 
of the progress of „,eeha„is,„ a,„ong the Ameri- 
^^ns. I appears, that they build much better 
b' i<^ges than Parthenons and Capitols. 

sides wll"?' '"'^" '"''^ '^ "■"""''■ °» "^0* 
«^<(cs, where foot-passengers cannot be incom- 

">oded .by the horses or carriages, for wiri. 
there are separate entrances ; th y re Ik "a 
c-ous gaUerieswhichaHord a shelter f on/ ; 

glazed windows at equal distances; the lat- 
t,ces ,h which they are adorned add to their 

fron" the' ." '" ?' •^"" '"'^^^ *e vapour 
trom the water to the to,, of the pillars it 

g-es t enr the appearance of floating Jalacel. 

The bridges belong to a company of specula- 
tors, whom the toll, though high, will p ob'bL 
never repay for the sums they have expended 
"Pon them ; for the numerous facilities which so 
many navigable rivers afford to commerce nd 
to travellers, and the bad state of the roads are 
great obstacles to the interests and profits fh 
constructors of bridges. 

You would be astonished, my dear Countess 
"> a country where everything seems rapid^ 









advancing towards civilization, to find roads 
which seem to belonjj to a state of savage wiid- 
ness. Nor do I believe they will be improved 
whilst the influence of the several states in the 
general government continues to be so unwisely 
distributed ; that is to say, whilst the number of 
the representatives in congress is in proportion 
to the population of each state, by which means 
the four or live most populous have a preponde- 
rance over all the others. This great Union is 
consequently always disunited when k islating 
on a matter which, like high-ways, is .^lore be- 
neficial to one state than to another. This must 
indeed be the case, unless the measure happen 
to interest the three states of Virginia, Pennsyl- 
vania and New York, which can always com- 
mand a majority over the twenty-one others. 
Generally speaking, they are unanimous only in 
one point, that is, the jealousy with which they 
watch each other. 

If this jealousy never transgressed the bounds 
of moderation, it might perhaps contribute to the 
safety of the republic : but, as the western 
states manifest on all occasions a violent oppo- 
sition to those of the east, and as the federa- 
lists or aristocrats are often at open variance 
with the popular or democratical party, rivalry 
may be strengthened into hatred, and may be- 
come fatal to the Union and advantageous to 






then- common enemy, wlio Im., his eye „no„ 
them, and, I believe, leaves no means „„tri ed 
to foment divisions among the leaders of the 
•I.ftercnt parties. All parties are alike to the 
cab„,et of St James's, provided they promote 
diseord and anarehy, whieh its maehiavelism 
Ims made the strong-hold of the politieal ex- 
istence of England, and to which it is, in a man- 
ner, obhged to condemn every nation that gives 
It cause for jealousy or alarm. 

Almost immediately after we had passed this 
great confluence, we saw a delightful little 
island, m which a clump of lofty tufted trees 
seems to offer its leafy homage to the majesty of 
the newly-formed river. ' 

Eight miles farther, another island, named 
from Its extent Long Island, divides it in the 
middle. The pretty little houses and cottages 
scattered over it form a delightful landscape 
which was softened into tender tints bv the' 
smoke curling amid the trees. 

Neither time nor my pen would suffice to de- 
scribe to you all the impressions which the dif- 
ferent aspects of this magnificent river produce 
upon the mind ; and a detailed description of the 
.mmense tract of country through which it flows 
would fatigue your magination, which I wish to 
keep unsated I shall therefore only give vou a 
■sketch of the principal places it was'ies, and of 

\i Mt f 



I. Hi 



the most considerable rivers that How into it; 
after which, I will take a rapid snrvey of the 
whole valley it embellishes in its course. 

As the direction of the Ohio, from l^ittsburg to 
its month, is nearly from E.N.E. to W.S.VV., 
to avoid confusion and ambiguity, (notwith- 
standing its frequent deviations from this line,) 
we will call the right bank the northern, and the 
left the southern, whenever we have occasion 
to distinguish them. 

The vast state of Pennsylvania extends upon 
these two banks forty-one miles southward to 
Grape Island, and continues forty-four north- 
ward to Little Beaver Creek, which separates it 
on one side from the state of Virginia, on the 
other from that of Ohio. 

We arri', 3d in the evening at Weeling, on the 
southern bank, as by enchantment. Although 
ninety-one miles from Pittsburg, I was unccn- 
scious of the distance, so much were my eyes 
and my imagination occupied and delighted by 
the charms of this river. 

Weeling is the great rival of Pittsburg, as Vir- 
ginia, to which it belongs, is of Pennsylvania. 
Its situation is very favourable. Almost all the 
inhabitants of the west, going eastward, come to 
this place to take the stage-coach, which arrives 
three times a week, and sets out again regularly 
for Washington, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsyl- 





van a, &c. Jut it has by no means all the ad- 
an ages of P,„,rg. whence the trade of the 
l^clta o( the Monangahela and of the Alles^hanv 
extends to all points, and where the al.n.tdanre 

faclu'e!"'""'' '°"'' '^''''■'"' '■"'^^'■'"'"^ '""""- 

on the northern bank, has not been long built"' 

nevertheless it is the ehlef town of the cLty of,ngton, nr the state of the Ohio. In 1800 
tins ,, ace contained only a few families ; it is 
now adorned with beautiful public and private 
bu.ldn,o.s. General Putnam, the father of the 
colony, ,s still living. Education i.s promoted 
by an acacen,y erected for that purpose, and a 
P-etty good Ubrary is open to the citizens Vt 
-as a prurtmg press which is never idle; for in 
the Un.ted States, the pubhc papers arc 

-chrea in .small villages as in. !rc!It to::;" 
m the cot age as „. the palace. A Presbyterian 
church, although larso is qnr,.^!,, «: 
cont-iln .!,„ , scarcely sufficient to 

crnua n the population, which now amounts to 
2,000 persons, and increases prodigiously every 
year w,th the growth of the city. Its siLatiou 
;s most delightful, anc, the Mu'sknigir: t 

ai s ,nto the Oh,o, gives it the adva;tage of a 
xtens,ve mland navigation. By a ve™ sh™' 
land jotuney from near the source of the MusT 
-ngum, you re... the river Cuyahoga, w d 
nins mto lake Eric. 


-'AftTJif.,. n,M.w. ,__ 

— ..i. 

! ^■ 






The ciir.ent of the Muskingum is so gentle 
that, when the Ohio is swollen, its waters are 
driven back to a considerable distance. This oc- 
casioned a curious incident, A Hat boat, laden 
with provisions for New Orleans, had arrived 
near the confluence of the Muskingum and the 
Oiiio. The latter having swelled prodigiously 
during the night, turned the current oft! ^Mus- 
kingum back towards its source. From the 
darkness of the night, the boat followed the 
same direction. The day after, a thick fog, 
which concealed tlie banks of the river, con- 
curred with the carelessness of the boatman to 
favour the mistake which continued the whole 
of the second night; but the following day, the 
fog having dispersed sufliciently to render the 
boat visible from shore, they were hailed with the 
usual questions, — whence they came, — where 
they wore going, — and what their boat was laden 
with? They then made the discovery that, in- 
stead o*" going to New Orleans, they had been 
carried up the Muskingum. 

General Putnam is the patriarch of the colony 
of Marietta. He is a venerable old man, and 
has a claim to honourable mention in the inter- 
esting, and hitherto entirely neglected history 
of these western parts of the United States. An 
humble individual like myself can only pay 
him the tribute of a few words expressive of the 
respect with which he filled me. He has 




^••^■-' •^" ~^ - "'"'^' V'Mii 







watched the growth of this country from the 
time when no sounds were lieard but the roaring 
of wild beaStS, the croaking of the raven, or the 
death-song of the savages against whom he 
fought. He has seen tlie trees of these forests 
fall under the axe of the cultivator, and their 
places supplied by the alternate succession of log- 
houses, then of cottages, and lastly of the beau- 
tiful houses which now adorn the surrounding 
scenery. He has beheld the whole country in- 
undated by an extraordinary rise of the Oliio and 
the Muskingum ; all the cattle, and many men, 
drowned ; and watched the desolation, disease, 
and death, consequent upon such an event. Me 
has witnessed all the horrors of the vindictive 
incursions of the savages, and seen the exhaust- 
less fertility and natural advantages of the soil 
trium])h over the ravages of fire and sword. In 
this place he witnessed the construction of the 
first steam-boat that travel scd these vast regions, 
and from this spot he himself has sent vessels 
to the gulf of Mexico, a distance of more than 
2,000 miles. Ife has survived all the vicissi- 
tudes of an infant colony; and in this peaceful 
seclusion he awaits the termination of that mor- 
tal career, in which he has distinguished himself 
as one of the great men of the revolution, and as 
the most skilful and enterprising of settlers. He 
is sim])le and unostentatious in his manners; he 




■t ' 

h i 



f -i 






has acted upon Cato's precept — xMelhus cH esse 
quam v'ukr'i. 

The situation of Belpii^' upon the north bank, 
and in the same countrj^ is very agreeably in 
unison with its name. Ft was given to it by 
Kome Frenchmen, who, after fighting for Ame- 
rican independence, settled in this place to 
enjoy the fruits of their valour in peace. When 
one considers how much the French have 
achieved for the liberty of others, — that they 
sacrificed their good king to the vain phantom of 
their own, — and that they are ncjw forging chains 
for Spain and Portugal, and perhaps for them- 
selves, with the same alacrity with which they 
offered hecatombs to the terrorism of the sans- 
culottes, — one is filled with a thousand mingled 
and contending feelings. 

The island of Blennerhasset claims the atten- 
tion of the traveller from its length, which is 
three miles, from its enchanting beauty, and 
from the recollection of the unhappy catastrophe 
to which it owes its name. 

An Irish gentleman, flying from the horrors 
with which the rebellion of 1801 filledhis country, 
took refuge in America, and settled in this island 
with all his family. Rich, and an admirer of the 
beautiful, he converted it into a perfect Tivoli. 
In December 1810, a terrible fire buried his 
oniy daughter under the ruins of the beautiful 









house which he had built. He immediately 
quitted this abode of sorrow, and the island 
now retains no other memorial oi his splendid 
residence than the name of the unfortunate 
girl who jterished in it : with her, perished every- 
thing. What a wound must this cruel loss have 
inflicted upon the feelings of the wretched 
parent! Having afterwards engaged in a conspi- 
racy, the object of whicli was to break up the 
Great Union, he was obliged to quit America, 

The Great Kenliawa is the first great river 
that flows into the Ohio from the south. It 
descends from tlie w^estern Apalachians of north 
Carolina, and is navigable to a considerable dis- 
tance from its mouth. 

Gallipolis, also founded by Frenchmen, who 
fled at the approach of the first terrors of the 
revolution to the state of Ohio, is now the chief 
town of a county, although it was not in exi^^t- 
ence before 1790: but the most astonishing- 
place is Burlington, which, though built only 
five years ago, is the metropolis of the county 
of Lawrence and the seat of a court of justice. 

The only remarkable circumstance in the little 
river Sandy is, that it fixes the boundaries of 
the state of Virginia and that of Kentucky upon 
the southern bank, at about 300 miles from 

Portsmouth, u[)on the northern bank in the 



-r- 'T 

— jITrf- ^ V 

t fi 

•I 1 


>i;. V 



state of OIlio, is situatx'd at thr conHucnro of" 
Scioto, a considcMal)!!" viviT, and navigal)lc to 
the intorior of tlir stat;'. 

iMaysvillc. or l/iinrstono, upon the soiithorn 
hank, is oiu- of tin* most llourishinL;' towns in the 
state ol Kent lick V. I walked al)out its envi- 
rons, and the varied prosj>ccts and enclianting- 
scenes ^vhi(>h every instant ])resented thein- 
sehi's so occiipiiul my mind and invited my 
steps, that \\\v steani-hoat, after IiaviiiL:: waited 
tor me a K)iii;" lime, saihul without nie. P'ortu- 
natt>ly a lal't passed, l)y nutans ol "whicli I over- 
took it at Cincinnati, where it stop|)e(l to un- 
load i^oods and take in others. I j)assTd the 
whole nigiit in rowing', to jirotect. niy^^^^'H from 
the iVost. 

The inlancy olCineinnati ])romiscs much. Al- 
though Columbia is the capital ol' the state of 
Ohio, Cincinnati is its largest and most com- 
mercial town ; it is inferior only to Pittsburg in 
riches and manufactures, but is much ])retticr 
and more agreeable. It is conspicuous from its 
situation on ihrcc p/dfcau.r, which rise gradual I y 
from the bank of the Ohio ; it is enclosed by 
hdls on the north, and the Ohio washes it in a 
semicircle on the south. It is our own Genoa 
in miniature, and its environs are equally embel- 
lished with beautiful villas. Its steam-boats 
navigate the Ohio and the Mississippi. Activity 





Tlii! KiVill MIAMI. 


and ,ncl„stry are cvciywiiero „l,vi„„s. Ai, „,•■> 
<lo.ny ,u>.l in„s<u,n, shew tl„. lov. „f the i„|,alM. 
'■""« l<--- s....n,u, a„.l lil..,at„rc; a„.l (ivo l,nn- 
"■•■< M'lH.lars wl„„„ I saw at tl,c s<.|,o,.l, ,,,„. 
''"*"■' "r" ""= -^y^'^^'" ol- >"Mtual i„struc.i„„ 
I'love,! tlicwi,!.. ,liH„si,mo(„lncati,m. 1 was 
-"■,,l to sc. tl,. ^.irls n.i.v.d ;.V. ,„,V. with 
l-oys. Aotw,ths,an,h„g the rospc.t ,l„e to Ih,- 

"■'-™l.-.( the An,.n..ans, one cannot hd,, tea, in,. 
""" "l'l''"t"'"ty will prevail over the ,„o,t 
=»istere principles. There ,nay be the n.ost 
l'n"m,ve simplicity an.l p„rity, l,„t nature 
•speaks a st,l n.ore se.lncing huigua^e than the 
oorrupt,o„s o( .society. I have l.een told that it 

t.r.s settled there towards the end of the last 
con ,.ry, and virtue gave hin. a just claim 
to the surname or(;i„ci„nat„s. I am inclined to 
-oheve t ,e name of so illustrious and so repub- 
lican a Roman may have contributed, among a 
people just emerging into republicanism, to at- 
tract a number of persons and thus to render it 

14,(00, the greater part emigrants from New 
iMig and. Jt ,s about 450 miles from Pittsburg 
1 he nver Miami, which descends from the 
north, separates the state of Ohio from that of 
I>Kl,ana. It is navigable far up the country, and 
con,mun,cateswith other rivers which consider- 




•ft -. 

'I I' 


^ m 

I . «< 

ft: I 




ably extend the navigation into the interior of 
the two states. It is four hundred and seventy 
miles from Pittsburg, and nearly midway of the 
course of the Ohio. 

I cannot help detaining you an instant, my 
dear Countess, at the small village of Rising 
Sun, situated upon a little eminence. Its bril- 
liant beauty and picturesque situation perfectly 
justify its name. It is in the state of Indiana, 
upon the northern shore of the Ohio. 

It is impossible to pass Vevay without travel- 
ling back in thought to Europe, and to that 
wondrous work in which the great citizen of 
Geneva, whilst he unfolds the weaknesses of the 
human heart, shews how completely virtue tri- 
umphs over them ; in which he proves that love 
may be as pure and irreproachable as it is ardent 
and elevated ; in which human nature is painted 
under an aspect at once extraordinary and na- 
tural, and the heroine is the model of the wife, 
the mother, and the friend. This little town, 
although in the bosom of America, is, like the 
Pai/s (k Vcmd, inhabited by Swiss who are very 
successful agriculturists. It is situated upon 
the northern bank, and in the state of Indiana, 
five hundred and fourteen miles from Pittsburg. 
These Swiss cultivate the vine : they are the 
only settlers who have hitherto had any success 
in this branch of agriculture. 







VVe arc now arrived at one of the f^reatest tri- 
butaries of the Ohio — the river Kentucky. It 
descends to the south from a brancli of the Apa- 
lachian mountains, which forms a kind of cher- 
sonese towards, the west, and separates the 
state of Kentucky on the north from that of 
Alabama on the south. This branch is called 
the Cumberland Mountains. The river Ken- 
tucky crosses the state to which it has given its 
name, and falls into the Ohio, at about five 
hundred and twenty-five miles from Pittsburg ; 
between Port Williams on the right, and Pres- 
tonville on the left. It is daily productive 
of new advantages to these two infant towns, 
as well as to the country in the interior, by 
the facility with which it enables them to ex- 
change their surplus produce for foreign com- 

At five hundred and eighty miles from Pitts- 
burg, you arrive at what are called the Falls, i. e. 
the cascades of the Ohio. 

I make it a rule never to ask questions before- 
hand about any great exhibitions either of art or 
nature, that 1 may secure to my curiosity the 
gratification of a surprise either more agreeable 
or more intense ; and that my eyes and my judg- 
ment may be under the influence of no other im- 
pressions than their own. But here my expecta- 
tions, raised by the idea of the fall of so large 
a volume of water, were <?rievously disappointed ; 




• 'I 



and my only astonishment was, that there was 
nothing to be astonished at. 

These falls are nothing more than an inclined 
plane of only twenty-two feet in the space of 
two miles ; which in fact produces no other 
effect than that of rendering the current more 
rapid. I observed, however, a phenomenon 
which appears extraordinary. 

I thought that the velocity impressed upon 
such a volume of water by this descent, must 
have given it an irresistible force, and have ac- 
celerated the current to a considerable distance ; 
but this was not the fact ; the river, at the 
bottom of this inclined plane, inmiediately re^ 
sumes, as if by magic, its level and its ordinary 
rapidity, without the least reflux. We, my dear 
Countess, who are only inquisitive observers, 
must leave the solution of this problem to the 

These rapids, besides the check which they 
might oppose to the progress of an invading 
army, have been extremely beneficial in giving 
birth to two commercial eutrejidts for goods : one 
where they begin, the other where they termi- 
nate. They are the two flourishing towns, 
Louisville, where all vessels coming. down, and 
Shipping-port, where those going up the Ohio, 
stop. They are both on the southern bank. 
When, however, the waters are high, the rapids 
may be ascended without danger. 


ft I 








Other sinall towns and villages have sprung 
up on the opposite bank, and lorm similar oitre- 
puts for the state of Indiana. In my opinion, a 
canal, which has been projected, between Ship- 
ping-port and Louisville, would be in many- 
respects very disadvantageous. 

Louisville is the principal key to the com- 
merce of the state of Kentucky. If Pittsburg 
be the Tyre, and Cincinnati the Carthage of the 
Ohio, Louisville is its Syracuse. 

A short time before the beginning of this cen- 
tury, it was only a small fort of observation, 
built by general Clark, who was the terror of the 
Indians. He was one of the first wlio drove 
back these savage tribes to the north and west; 
or rather, one of the first who invaded and 
usurped their lands. This town contains already 
more than 8000 inhabitants. What renders the 
population more astonishing is, that a great 
number of the inhabitants yearly fall a sacrifice 
to the pestilential exhalations of the surrounding 
marshes, as well as to the contradictory systems 
of the swarm of medical men by whom it is in- 
fested. On first entering the city, I inferred, 
from the bills which these gentlemen post up in 
every corner of the streets, that the councry 
must be a dangerous one; just as the traveller 
who had long wandered in deserts and among 
barbarous nations, perceived that he was got 






1^128 ||2.5 

S ^ IS 


1.25 1.4 1.6 

■• 6" 








WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 



: I 

;♦' .« 



back to civilized lands by the appearance of a 
man hanging on a gibbet in the square of the 
first city he came to. Such however is the 
thirst for gold, that it daily attracts new victims, 
who die off in regular succession. 

Shipping-port is not more healthy than Louis- 
ville and is much smaller ; for the speculators 
of this place prefer living upon the right bank 
of the river in the pretty little towns of Clarks- 
burg, Albany, and Jeft'erson, the elevation of 
which above the river affords them delightful 
views and salubrious air ; to which may be 
added, that there are only two gentlemen of the 
faculty, — ^that their theories are in complete uni- 
son, — and consequently do not compel them to 
try experiments upon their patients. 

If I were to advert to every object that struck 
my eye or touched my heart, language would not 
furnish me with a sufficient variety of expres- 
sions, and you would be doomed to tedious repe- 
titions. I shall, therefore, pass by those scenes 
which offer nothing more interesting than what 
we have already seen ; and after having pointed 
out to you the Wabash, which descends from the 
north and separates the state of Indiana from 
that of Illinois, eight hundred and twenty-five 
miles from Pittsburg; and on the south, the 
Green river, the Tennessee, and the Cumberland, 
four large rivers, important for their navigation ; 


-Jl- «p-._jpi 


i!lZ ' ''" """""^^ °" ^ '"''««^ which 

ts name suggests, and which deserves a place 
m the history— whenever fh»,.= • „ 

Un-ed States. "' '' ""'-"' '^' 

a Jit thTRiT' "\"'^'" "" ^ ''"'"^ *■"" built 
!fter hi f ■"'" ''^ ^'°^'^' Wilkinson, who 
atter having been theMarcellus wished tnh. 
the Cajsar of his countrv H» !;T- . """^ 
self bv hi. . c^un'T- He distinguished him- 

thfin sTjjr;'''.'^-'^-'^°«-^ai„st 

's'lsn and the Indians; but likp th^ 
conqueror of the Gauls, has ^een tc used of 
conspiring .gainst the liberty of his coun"; 

He was commander in chief of all these western 
egions, at the time colonel Burr, under prtete 

country, and holding secret meetings, which 

Z r' ''™ '"'■'"•■"^''' had very Itti o 

<lo with commerce. Colonel R„rn 

observe had v«<. '^oionel Burr, you must 

s^y of yie, mg his pretensions to the presidelT 
to his Illustrious competitor Thomas Jefferson 

A correspondence long kept up between Wil 
kinson and Burr excited suspicion • I knovv no," 
howwel, founded. They were accu'sed o a cot 

;r ' ^ the eastern from the western states ,- 





and were even suspected of some secret intelli- 
gence with the cabinet of St James's. But, 
after a long trial and interminable debates, they 
were both acquitted ; Wilkinson by a court- 
martial, Burr by a court of justice ; but neither by 
public opinion. It is lamentable that two men of 
distinguished talents, who had done good service 
to their country and the cause of liberty, should 
have incurred the stigma of such an accusation. 

We have not made much progress, my dear 
Madam, and we are still stopping at a place 
which, although it contains only two cats and a 
chimney, is called America. It is an embryo 
entrepdt of Lower i ' ' iiois : the steam-boat touched 
there to take in flour, of which this state already 
grows a quantity much beyond its consumption. 
I availed myself of this opportunity to ramble a 
little in the woods, the attractions of which I 
can never resist. These primeval forests are 
extremely inviting to a man born in the midst 
of the gardens of the beautiful but over-culti- 
vated Hesperia, One of the passengers of the 
steam-boat accompanied me ; and we returned 
with a stock of laughter which lasted us and the 
company for a long time. I send you your por- 
tion of it. 

I was behind a large oak watching a squir- 
rel, when suddenly my companion called out. 




tree*Wh t' "'""•"•= ^^P''^'"'" Upon a 
tree., Ide.iredhim to 
ge .omebird-limeand catch it, like abeccafiffo- 
but seeing that he actually believed what he 
wished >ne to believe, I suspected there was some 
strange blunder ; I therefore approached it -il 
was a panther! I cannot tell which became the 
paler of the two, but .artainly the face of myAme- 
ncan fend was not blooming. Oar guns were 
oaded w,th small-shot, so that to fire ^ould only 
have been to irritate her. We were perfectly 
agreed as to the propriety of not disturbing her 
smceshewassoobligin,,as not to stir. Weretired,' 
and, borne upon the wings of foar, with the sun 

boar'trT''' "' '°°" ''^'^"^ °"^ steam- 
boat though we had plunged into a very thick 
pathless forest. ' ' 

We immediately returned to the spot, accom- 
Pa med by some huntsmen of the village, and 
better armed; but the animal was <rone 

When we first saw her she Mas carelessly 
lying upon the junction of two large arms of one 
of those venerable maples which still abound in 
hese regions. There are a great many panthers 
m the e immense forests .- they remain thus 
mo lonless upon the trees that they may more 

'he e ! i T1 *' '"^'""'^^ ^••'^'' -bound 
there, and which are their favourite food 

They are very different from those of Africr 



t i 

and Asia ; at a distance their skin resembles 
that of a deer : — but a deer grazing upon a tree! 
I leave you to judge, my dear Countess, whether 
this, with the bird-lime, and our surprise, were 
not sufficient to make us laugh. 1 cannot help 
laughing still, when I think of the whole scene. 

A vast wooden house, which performs the 
functions of an inn, built upon stakes driven 
into the water, marks the place called t/ie JMouth ; 
that is to say, the mouth of the Ohio, where it 
joins the Mississippi. The current of these two 
rivers is, as^it were, paralyzed for about twenty 
miles above their confluence, which seems to 
shew that the volume of the Ohio i? as powerful 
at this place as that of the Mississippi. 

This junction is one of the grandest spectacles 
of nature; and the theories of gravitation and 
pressure, of attraction and repulsion, of inclina- 
tion and equilibrium, — in short, all that concerns 
the general laws of the motion of fluids, — here 
ofler a vast field of battle to the learned in hy- 
draulics, hydrometrics, hydrostatics, hydrody- 
namics, and a whole dictionary of such hard 
words. I give place to them ; for all this is worse 
than Greek to me ; and whilst the savans are 
fighting, I will return to Pittsburg to give you a 
slight sketch of the Tempe of this great Peneus of 
the United States. 
The valley of the Ohio appears to be only the 



bed which it has formed for itself by the gradual 
wearmg away of the land by its waters. ' Fro« 

a"d k! . '? "'"°'' ^'^''y^ °f ^q"^l ''eight, 
^.d the tops of which are generally on a level 

wuh he .mrne ,e plain which it penetrates and 

divides ; for all that vast tract inclosed by the 

Apa^ch,an and Rocky Mountains, fro.'e 

Ms wh,ch seem to have the same character 
vallvof To^"'" " ""'- -h-h i-iose the 

of his ' '"'*'* '''^"^ g^°«=^l level 

of th s region, jomed to their small degree of 

elevation, which facilitates the navigation of the 


direction. Another circumstance concurs tr 

vanced I mean the great number of islands 
T r: ^ "''"'' I --'ed about sixty 

wJ'h ::te'nTt\^rr^^p-'°^---y 

eve of mnn I ^^"'^ "P^ned to the 

eye of man ; where art and civilization have nro 

still exhibits of Its primitive state; and the re 
flections and feelmgs arising from it h^ghten 

of the hand of "' ^ ""^'"^ ^'^' '^^^s 

hand of man form the most striking con- 




li. ' I 

trast with those in which nature is still uncul- 
tivated. The most smiling towns and villages are 
often separated by an interval of gloomy solitude. 
Fields and meadows of extraordinary luxuriance 
and beauty are intersected by gloomy woods 
and impenetrable forests ; the log-houses and 
cowtages, the farms and hamlets, scattered here 
and there, diffuse over the scene a variety so in- 
teresting, that it is impossible for the coldest 
heart to be insensible to it. 

Few rivers, I think, afford such diversity of 
pleasing objects as the Ohio. The most lively 
fancy and the most profound meditation find per- 
petual food and exercise, and one may be in turn 
a poet, a political economist, and a philosopher, 
and always a wondering admirer. Thirty years 
ago all this extent of country washed by the 
Ohio, which has been only recently formed into 
states and incorporated with the union, was in- 
habited only by ferocious beasts, or by people 
still more ferocious ; especially the part compre- 
hended in the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. 

It was the property and the abode of the 
Sawanoes, Miamis, Piankiciawoes, Wayaoes* 
Kaskasias, Delawares, and Illinois ; nations 
which have been partly annihilated and partly 
incorporated with the Owatawas, the Sawkis, 
the Foxes, &c. The river Alleghany was inha- 




bited by the Senekis, a part of whom have 
"merged ,n the Six Nations ; and Kentucky itself 
when Boon first penetrated thither with a com ' 
pany of Virginia huntsmen, in 1770, was marked 
by no track, no path, except those which had 
been made by the savages, the buffaloes, wolves 
bears, and panthers. It was in Kentucky, after 
the forests were felled and the bosom of the 
earth laid open, that were found those gigantic 
monsters which excite the wonder of an observer 
m the museums of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and 
Cincmnati. They extremely resemble the ele- 
phant, and modern naturalists have given them 
the name of Mammoth. 

Lexington, one of the principal towns of the 
state, and the one which those who believe in the 
possibility of a political separation already desi^- 
nate as the capital of all the western states, was 
then the centre of those savage nations, a part of 
whom have been driven back, and now inhabit 
the river Osage which flows into the Missouri 
three hundred miles above its mouth. The first 
civilized men who descended the Ohio from Fort 
Pitt, so late as 1773, were doctor Wood and 
^imon Kenton, according to a manuscript which 
I saw at Pittsburg. 

These countries afterwards became the scene 
of those atrocious wars which the Americans had 
to sustain against these savage nations ; and not- 








vvillisl'.iiKiin^ the pciicc roiirliidcd witli (liciii 
ii< I yon, they were not Jibic culinily to expel 
flieiu till alter lliat of \H\A with Kiii(liin(l ; uiid 
ev(>ii then it was hy piirehasin^ their elaiiii or 
ri^dit of proju'i'ty on these lands; Ixit priix'ipally 
l>y establishini; inilitaiy posts and Torts upon 
lak(\s IVIiehi;^'an, Huron, l*iri(\ and Ontario; 
upon the rivers Mississippi, IVIissouri, Illinois, 
Wahash, IVliaini, Arkansas, Sic. A lady at 
liOuisville herself told me, that in I HO!) In^r three, 
sons were buteluTcd before her eyes by thes(; 
barbarians, and the; fourth, whom she held in 
her arms, threatem-d with the same; fat(\ 

You will no doubt eonjeeturt;, my d(!;»r 
Madaia, that these reitc^rated iiKMirsions on tin; 
part of the Indians, were not <piite uneonneetcd 
with the inllueiK^t! of the cabinet of St James's; 
but you will iind it dillieult to eoneeivi^ the 
truly maehiavelian devictes by which this cabinet 
endeavoured to keej) up the hatred and cruel 
hostilities of the sava«^es a«;ainst the AnuMieans, 
whom it cannot yet accustom itself to consider 
in any otlur liij^ht than that of colonists and 
rebellious subjects. 

All the treaties which the Americans con- 
cluded with the savages, cithcrfor restoring peace 
or for fixing the boundari(;s of the respective terri- 
tories, were commented upon by the lMit,dish; 
they, of course always found somethinfj^ which 





(hey could turn :i|^^!iiiisl tin; AiiK^icanN, upon 
wliicli tli<^ swvuf^ns iinrn('<li;it(!ly viohitiul their 
(rcjilic'S, and niucwcd their devastjitions. 

It \h ()II(> (>r the i'lnuhinieiital prineipleH of all 
eahinets, arul if fori tori of that oC St James 'h, — • 
that (!very nation must have, a religion; not that;rs and kirij^.s wish tluHr p(;o|)le. to go to 
heaven, which, I IxTievi^ thc^y consider as exclu- 
sively tlu'ir property as the earth; hut hecause a 
people without relij^^ion cannot he worked upon 
hy fanaticism or superstition ; two ingredients 
ne(;ess;iry in their political recipes, and without 
which they could not Ix^nd th(^m to tluiir wisluis. 
The. < ahinet of St J;tmes's thenifore sought 
and found means to give a religion, no nuittcT 
how transitory, to these snviiges. hut it wns 
indisp(uisal)le th;it tlu; mohih; like that of 
th(! hcjiven of ancient astronomi;rs, which en- 
(rircled and put in motion the other h(;avens — 
should be sulli(;iently powerful to give; impidse 
to this new (Jongrcvian machine, "^riie c;d)inet 
of St James's is nevtT at a loss ; it therefore 
immediatiily created, i/ facio, a prophet, with 
the same faciliJv as it restored the Jesuits; and 
naturally found him in the man of the greatest 



his tribe ; — i 

I th 


most powerful connections of 
[} brother of tlie famous Thc- 
ciimscn, the most valiant and formidable of all 
the Indian chiefs, liy the pretended credulityof 






if* ' 




sonu' hired hclicvors, he w;is lirst i'C[)ivst'nti'(l as 
inspiriMl. lie was then made to preach that tl»e 
(ireat Mdnitott, or spirit, had eoininaiuled him 
to eoUeet ail tl)e tribes into one single family 
of eoneord and iVaternity, Jmd to march against 
the Americans wlio were pK)tting tlieir total 
destrnction, as well as tliat of their ManiUms. 
lie was afterwards made to raise a standard, in 
whieli all their snperstitions end)lems were 
hlended ; for in sneh a ease, every nation, every 
sect, has its cross. More than 3000 savages, 
with all the ardour of fanatics, Hocked to this 
new " oriHamme," and fire and sword soon 
laid waste the American territory. General 
Harrison marched with superior forces against 
these crusaders, and, like another Saladin, de- 
feated them; but never was a battle between 
savage and civilized people more obstinately or 
more bravely contested than that of the Oth 
Nov. 1811, at the confluence of the Tippacanoe 
and the Wabash. The prophet encouraged his 
warriors to battle by displaying his standard 
and his jlfanitciis ; but as, in his character of high 
priest, it became him to act with discretion, he 
carefully kept himself at a great distance from 
danger, upon a little eminence, whilst his brother 
fought like a lion at the head of his savages. At 
last he prudently fled with those who were able 
to make their escape, and left the iicld of battle 


MinrisH i.\rru(;uKs. 


(•ovcTCfl Willi his faitliriil hc'lievcTs jind wita tluir 
arms niul Uivn^'diri^, wliich wine of l-jiLHish inunu- 

Ht lore {\w Jittack, lit: assnriMl his heroes,— ])y 
tlie iiispinition, I su|)|)ose, of thi; Mumtou of 
Westminster,- -Ihut those who mi;rht happen to 
i)erish in the Imttle, were exj)cete(l at dinner 
>vith I Ik- jricat spirit; for there are paradises ol 
every kind, and lor every people. 

The savaf,^e of New Mcxieo, from i<,niorance, 
promises one to his horse, when he aids liim in 
the eommissionolhis crimes, and extricates him 
irom danger; but it is to serve the ends of a 
crooked and selfish i)olicy, that we prostitute 
this sacred name by promising the rewards of 
virtue to every villain. 

But to come to the (laioucmeut. The Ame- 
ricans, although almost always conquerors, have 
suffered nmcli from these cruel wars, during 
which their Ef/o-iish half -brothers compelled them 
by tyrannical maritime prohibitions, to sustain 
another struggle, which terminated only in 1814, 
at the treaty of Ghent. It was also at that time, 
that, taking advantage of the situation to which 
the Indians were reduced, they threatened to 
abandon them to the vengeance of the Ame- 
ricans, which they represented as terrible; and 
by this stratagem easily drew them over to 
their side. They were thus all enlisted under 



the British standard, with the pompous title of 
the allies of his Britannic Majesty George III. 
Tecuniseh received a brevet of general in the 
service, and was decorated, together with other 
chiefs, with a medal in which the king was re- 
presented on one side as a h.ero, and on the other 
as extending the hand of friendship and frater- 

These details, my dear Madam, though per- 
haps too long for a letter on the Ohio, are neces- 
sary preliminaries to heighten the surprise with 
which you will learn the actual prosperity of 
these countries, notwithstanding tlie recent date 
of their civilization and the evils which desolated 
their infancy. 

Kentucky, which is the Eden of the United 
States, possesses the necessaries of life in abun- 
dance, exports largely its surplus produce, and 
contains about 600,000 inhabitants. They are 
industrious, enterprising, and brave; but, as I 
have before observed, they are insupportable 
from their insolence and coarseness. They are 
sometimes amusing, but always exceed all bounds 
of decent manners. 

The inhabitants of the state of Ohio are more 
numerous, although they w^ere not incorporated 
with the Union before 1803. The rapu ity with 
which the population has increased is a suffi- 
cient proof of the abundant means of subsistence; 




for in 1700 it had only 3000 inhabitants, and 
in 1800 the number did not exceed 43,000- 
while they are now calculated at 700,000 ' This 
Ks perfectly unparalleled in the history of coloni- 
zation, or of the most flourishing nations. Never 
did any country, at its first rise into political 
existence, advance with such gigantic strides 
Its progress will be more and more astonishin.r • 
or It IS inhabited by a people more addicted 
tlian any other to the pursuits of agriculture. 
V ou recollect the opinions 1 have already ex- 
pressed in one of my letters on England, on the 

superiority of agriculture tomanufacturersasaper- 
manent source of natiojml wealth aLul happiness 
The state of Indiana, whose very name suo-- 
gests the idea of a new creation, was not admitte'd 
to the federation before 1810, and now contains 
a poj)ulation of more than 150,000 souls You 
have seen at Shippingport that its cities and 
villages are worthy of a civilized country You 
must observe that a colony or province cannot 
be admitted as a member of the great union 
as a state, until it has 30,000 inhabitants. 

The state of Illinois did not form part of the 
Union till 1818: it has more than 60,000 inha- 
bitants. It is distinguished for its industry and 
Its agriculture. Its capital, called Vandalia, is a 
memorial of the state of barbarism from which it 
has so lately emerged. In short, my dear Coun- 






tess, in your course along this river, you see 
pretty houses and smiHng towns springing in all 
directions from the depth of primeval woods and 
the gloom of solitude, just as the superb Venice 
and the formidable Holland sprung from the 
bosom of the deep. 

It appears incredible, that a country possessing 
a soil enriched with vegetable juices which have 
been accumulating ever since the creation of the 
world, and a climate whose just proportion of heat 
and cold promises to render it an exhaustless 
source of the riches of Ceres, Flora, Pomona, 
and even of Bacchus, (for the vine, which grows 
here as in its native soil, seems to invite the 
hand of man to cultivate it) ; — a country, where 
the prodigious number of navigable rivers raises 
the value of labour, and facilitates exportation 
and importation over such an immense extent ; — 
a country which, in spite of its vast quantity of 
water, enjoys, by a singular exception, a salu- 
brious climate (of which its population is an 
incontestable proof) ; — could remain concealed 
from mankind during a period of more than 
fifty centuries. But Providence had, perhaps, 
reserved it for times of public calamity, that 
it might afford an asylum and a consolation 
to the victims of despotism and tyranny. It is 
in fact inhabited by a great number of European 
emigrants. This is one of the cases which 




would tempt one to believe that everything is 
foreseen and predisposed by fate, if there were 
not dogmas which we are bound to respect and 

wUl of man, and that this ,viU is free even when 
l>e IS fettered by the chains of slavery 

But permit me, my dear Countess, to say one 
word concern„,g the other emigrants, who con- 
fbute m so extraordinary a manner to tl,e 
prosperity of this New World 

These are the Yankees .■ a few words will 
make you acquamted with their origin and cha- 

The north-eastern states,— New York f „ 

&c. a,e very populous, and consist entirely of 
free people. Their inhabitants already think 
they have not room enough, though in Ernie 
each state would form a kingdom ; or thev per 
haps thmk it not sufficiently fertile; 7 f,l; 
when a young man arrives at a certai^ a4 and 
- able by his own strength and intelH.ence 
which are early matured, to provide for him e,f 
nis fiither savs to him <' r^ ""n^t.ji, 

p^f^^r r '''^'^^-"'^^^^"^y^- 
ptats, Go, coul make moneys The onJv L, • 

;ioiittpiei:.:ni:r ""?^ '''^- 

Fiements, that he must fell forests 

I ; 






witli his axe, aid open the ground necessary to 
Ills subsistence with his pickaxe ; tliat tlie cord 
and bridle ^^ignify that he must provide himself 
witli a cow and a horse ; and that he must seek 
all these requisites wherever fortune may direct 
his steps. Every year, accordingly, multitudes 
of Yankees survey, from the tops of the Alle- 
ghanies, these immense regions of the west, 
which they consider as a common patrimony ; 
and each descends into the plain to provide 
himself with the necessaries suggested by his 
father's advice and gifts. The first thing he 
does, after building a house of trunks of trees, 
is to marry ; for a wife is not less indispensa- 
ble to him than a horse and a cow. The human 
animal, unfettered by the fear of wanting bread, 
is as prolific as the soil. In a few years, 
the spot which only swarmed with insects, 
swarms with children ; the log-house becomes 
a hamlet, a village, a town, the capital of a 
province ; and states are formed, as by enchant- 
ment, from an axe, a pickaxe, a cord, a bridle, 
a man, and a woman. The creation of a new 
world, and the history of Adam and Eve, are 
continually renewed here ; here, more than in 
any other country, the prodigies of nature are 
manifest ; here, the created comes forth visibly 
from the hand of the Creator. But it appears 
that man can never escape the scourges which 


niK OHIO. 

afflict humanity! Hei 


r„|, ., . • , ^ °^ doctors and lawyers 

and death have already established their empire 
there. Unfortunately there is no Chinese walUo 
prevent the incursions of these terrible Tartars, 
llic Yankees were so called, I believe, from 

enameofthesava,cswho inhabited the east 
at he t me of the eonq.,est. They are a people 

as labor,ou.s as the Swiss; as frugal and e'cono as the Tyrolesc and the inhabitants of 
the Lucchese mountains; as cunning and in- 
dustnous as the Genoese; as droll as the Gas- 

as selfish and avaricious as those men of all 
nations who banish themselves from their 
country to „m/,c momj/. 

The same phenomenon, which I remarked to 
you m my letter on the «hi„e, has attracted 
my observahons during the whole course of the 
U'"o. Here, as in the former river, the water 

OSes Itself. Tie Alleghany and tiie Monon 
gahela are, believe, about as large as theTiber. 
The Kentucky, the Cumberland, and the Ten- 
nessee, are much larger. The Kenhawa, the 
Muskmgum, the Scioto, the Miamy, the Green 

R.ver, and tire Wabash, are but liule sinalle 
t receives the waters of more than sixty othei- 
tnbutary rivers, and yet it nowhere pLent 
thaunormous volume of water, which ft would 






be reasonable to expect from the influx of so 
many streams. I am of opinion that subterra- 
nean falls and swallov/s carry off a great part 
of it. May not the extraordinary pantlifsation 
of its current at the rapids of Shippingport be 
an indication that this is the fact ? 

There are other characteristic features which, 
in my opinion, are striking proofs that its bed 
was much more extensive. 

In those places where rocks overhang the 
banks of the river, there are horizontal abra- 
sions which run in a parallel direction, and at 
the same elevation, on both sides. They are 
caused by the violence of the current, or niore 
probably by the breaking up of the ice. The 
soil of the valley is alluvial, whilst that of the 
heights which border it is diluvial. Lastly, 
the sands at the back and on both sides of 
Louisville bear obvious traces that they once 
formed a branch of the river, and that conse 
quently the elevated ground upon which the 
city is built, was an island. I firmly believe 
that the greater part of the waters which fill 
the great basins called oceans, flow invisibly 
to the eye of man, and penetrate through the 
bosom of the earth ; which is, perhaps, the still 
unknown cause of their saltness. 

Kant, in his sublime Physical Geography, 
declares that he found this saltness greater in 




some seas than in others Tk- 

seems to indicate hITk' '''^'^"'"stance 

strata more or esss '; ^T "^' "■™''^" 
^^e are ^oj' o!' ^T:^:!:^"- 

\. KTT K U \m. 

4y 4^ 

: i,. ' 

' 1 ' 


'n i 



^ » 



'. « 

J* ■ 



1\ luv last, I loi't vou at tho conlliuMU'i' of llio 
Ohio and tlio iMississippi, \v1umv I was waitiiifj^ 
for a stvain-boat. It anivrd. and «»;avo my cxcur- 
si< n a direction i|uito contrary to that which 
soonuHl dctciininod. At hist, my (h'ar Conntess, 
you will assent to the justice of my |)Vol'cssion 
of ignorance o{ the future; ;i profession, 
however, which has no iniluence either on my 
conduct or my jirinciplcs, unless to render me 
more cautious in declaring' my plans ; though 
some persons have very unjustly represented 
it as fatalisn\. 

All my letters of recommendation and of 
credit, — the company with whom I had asso- 
ciated, — the UfiiUd Slates steam-boat, which was 



V of the 

y exciu- 
t which 

V on my 
lulcr nic 
; though 

and of 
ad asso- 
hich Avas 

«„,„ to ,-.,„n,._i„sl,.„.|,.v,.ry(|,i„^, ,,„„„,,, „, 

' '■',"■ '" ''™' ""■ '" N.'w <.,.|,.i,„s, ,., „„. 

'"""'liM ,.r ,|„. MiHsissippi. „.|„.,.,. I «,s ,.x 
l"rlr,l .,„ ,„v way ,,.,.„. WHI. ,„y ,|,.„, 

* "•^•'' ' •■"" ""« "" ".y way (owanls i.s 


ru- si,.:„„.|„„„ „|,i,.,, ,„.,,i^,.,,^ ^,^^ ^1^^ ^,^^ 

<<.tl...w„r..,yl„„llMT„(|,i,„|„,,,„i ,li„ 

"'.V li.M. a,„l ,„aJ,„Tan|i.„ar,., vv,.,„ a„„,„LM|„. 
["'■-«'"f,'.Ts. I |„.,l ,|,a, .|„,y ,„„, „,■„„ ,,,,,, 

"'"""ffllM-lmlians, having I,,..,;..,,,,, ,„,„^,„ 

'"<-"(„„«,„„. ,„issi„„i„,„,i„.i,(,.,-,i,„;.y .,.,. 

<l"-<...nK r...s,„.Hi,„. ,l,a(, ,„.„,,l,.. TI,.Ml,.«,.rip. 

;;•''■""; ""-<7. .•.vn.,.,l l,,,,,, r„y as.„„.l,. 
>"'"t".;<l n,y ,„,,.,<.,|„|ity; what II,,, ,„„„,,. 

1 ncl ro-awako„e.l a ..niosity which I ,,a., 
n ys ,nu.„,l,.,l ,.. .nUify ,,„;„, ,y „ ,„,,„^ 

n om A,„enca: novo,- on,, 1,1 a hot... o.portu- 
"'ty ansc, „or o„„l<J anythinf,^ I iho„,,| , ,,o 

m'..c.„tc,esti„„.toaforc.i,.,c,-; I therefore ,1c-' 
tcnnmcl to accompany them 

"' No.thAn,cnca,-we ascertain clearly 
-Lore we arc; f-r tl,in..s, yo„ know. lik,. „c„ 
-.nctnnes chan.c their name... when' They 




'' I 

,f * 

changi' their masters. Voii hiivo i..)t lurtjjottL'ii 
what hccimo of Nuj)()U'()nvilk', swallowed up hy 
the Uestoralioii ; — Last year at Paris I liujuiivd 
lor several days lor a «5eiitleinan with whom I 
was Ibrmeily intimately aequainted, umler the 
name of IMr L . . . . but in vain; the l{cstora- 
tion had ehan«^e(l him into the (>omte de la 
(i . . ; and the same Kestoration has given our 
|)oor departed kingdom of Italy as many names 
as masters. 

\Vo have now\ my dear INIathun, entered the 
country which was discovered under tlie reign 
of the Ma/arins and Louvois, — tlic Montcspans 
and the Maintenons,- and to wiiicli flattery gave 
the name of Louisiana, in honour of a king who 
was great only in the panegyrics of his cour- 
tiers, and the vevscs of his pensioners; and whose 
hon-mois, which have been so i)ufted, and which 
were so often made for liim, atibrd but poor 
atonement for tlie evils he inflicted. A part of 
this country, to the east of the Mississippi, was 
ceded with Canada to the English by the treaty 
of Fontainbleau, in 17(5*2, after that unhappy 
war in which Louis XV lost New France in 
America, and ruined Old France in Europe. It 
was one of the hot-beds of that revolution from 
which the mother country has so long suflered 
and has yet to sufler. 

The western part, with New Orleans, was 





ccM to Spain l,y a sooret (rcaty, in I7fi,i- as 

a» "Hlemnilication for tl,e «r.:at .sacrifir...s sho 
';';' """ " '",'•"'■""<■« I'y her co-operation, agree- 
''l>_'y to lliclamily compactor 1 7fi I. 

'l'licw;i,'of indcpcndoncc, in wliicli the United 
Ma^s tr„„n,,l,ed over ti.e Knfflish, and whici, 
e»<l.'.l w,tl. thepcaceof 1 7Kt, transferred that 
pan ol l..,n,siana whicl. had l.cen yiehh.! ,„ 
tlio latter by the French, into the hamis of the 

»n I'^Oi, Napoleon acquired all the territory 
'>^'-'^i"^^ to Spain; that is, Lower Louisiana 
and New Orleans. 

As the great preparations he had made to carry 
these nnporcant projects into execution were 
stopped, m the ports of Holland, by the war 
which immediately succeeded the peace of 
Amiens,—a peace, which the English con- 
cluded for no other purpose than to gain time 
-I'-e sold all the rights he had obtained there to 
tljcUmted States, in 1S03, by a treaty of cession. 
1 he latter are thus become the exclusive masters 
of the whole course of this river, and conse- 
quently of all Louisiana. 

This was the most important of all acquisi- 
tions to th.^ United States; for a foreign nation 
possessing the mouths of the Mississippi, might 
ruin all these western and northern countries by 
a blockade. The name of Louisiana is now con- 




.V >i 


fined to tlie small state of which New Orleans 
is tlie capital ; the rest of this immense provinc' 
has been divided into states and territories. 

The French «;ave the name of Lonisiana to the 
whole tract of conntry cxtendinjjf from the 
sonrces to tlu; months of the Mississippi, from 
north to sonth; and from tiie Alle|j^hanys to the 
monntains of New INlexico, from east to west. 
Protitini; by the bnll, so celebrated for its jns- 
tice, which /Mexander VI had granted to the 
Spaniards, they appropriated, by right of dis- 
covery, all the eonntries \vhich were then, or 
might snbscqnently be discovered, and even 
re-baptised the Mississippi under the name of 
the river St Louis. The ancients would have 
placed this mighty river among their gods, and 
its aboriginal name would have been inscribed 
in the celestial hierarchy. 

The Americans, heretics as they are, and 
rebels to the authority of the ])opes, have re- 
cently done nearly the same thing with respect 
to the countries which extend from the sources 
of the Colombia to its mouths in the Pacific 
Ocean ; for what is expedient seems easily re- 
conciled to every system of religion, or of 

By this great accession, much superior in ex- 
tent to that wliich the English colonies possessed 
before the war of independence, you may form an 

1 ) 

lllHU's ISLAND. 


idea of the vast territory over which tlic United 
States possess dominion in the manner I men- 
tioned to yon when at Washington. Voii may 
also jndge oflhe immense losses France has sus- 
tained since 1703. Now, my dear Countess, 
vvc may pursue our journey with more certainty. 
We set out, on the 12 1st of April, from the 
mouth of the Ohio; -from that fairy land which, 
like the island of Calypso, enchants by the 
beauty of its inhahilants; happily, however, 
there is no need of the wisdom of Mentor, to 
induce one to leave it: their hills are cpiite 
sufKcient. On quitting it, the grand and terrific 
scenery which surrounded us was truly magical, 
imposing, and novel. The waters, extremely in- 
creased by a flood, covered the piles of this 
singular building, and formed an ocean around 
it; the rain fell in torrents, so that, in the midst 
of the deepest silence and solitude, it was easy 
to fancy a new deluge and a new ark. Seated, 
as if entranced, on the deck of the steam-boat, 
you may more easily conceive than I can de- 
scribe, the thoughts awakened within me by this 
extraordinary scene. 

Bird's Island leads the way, and prepares 
the eyes and the mind for the impressive views, 
delightful emotions, and heart-stirring wonder 
with which the majesty of this river affects 


\ f 







llu'iii, al varitnl inkMvals Ihroiinhout the whole 
spaco 1 havr liitluM'to (ravcrsod. 

'I'lu> 1\v() SislcMs aiul Doo-toodi Islands, dil- 
loriiii'- in loiin, conir noxi in sncrrssion, and 
insensibly lead yon (o i^nj^Iish island, ixMiiark- 
ahle as the first plaee where llu» lMiii:lish lornied 
a small settltMnenI on (his rivi>r, in 17(15, to (es- 
tablish a elaini to it by riL>ht of possession. This 
sedlenienl was almost entirely destroyed by the 
savages, who liked and still like the l^'reneh lor 
(heir manners, and detest every conqneror (ha( 
has sneeeeded them. 

Cape l/a Croix, a pielnrescpie promontory a( 
abon( I'orty miles from (he eonHnenee, rises 
upon (he wes(ern bank ; and, at a short dis- 
tanee on the same side, Ca|)e (Jirardean is tiot 
less interesting-. 1'hese (wo plaees were named 
by the first I-'renchmen who saw them in 1074. 
They had been sent by M. de Frontenae, gover- 
nor of Canada, who had learut from the savages, 
fhdt (I o-)r(il river tlonrd from the uort/i, and went 
neither towurds the phiee where the Great Spirit 
rises, )ior towards that where he disappears. The 
little town jnst formed at Cape Girardcan, is 
entirely the ofi's])rini>- of the United States. It 
is a thriving plaee, and has more than donbled its 
population in the eourse of a few years. This 
IS one of the salntarv eti'cets of religious and 




poll lien I foleriiiion. Ii, ,(mt; 

iiiis iiiaiiy foriMfrncrs, 

■'UmWUv. (Ics|)(,|,sm of Kuiopc will supply it will 
n still t>rc;iU'r mimlHT. 

V<»ii know, Miuliiin, that I 

:irn no friend to 
•, winch often end in .sym-r///o/f//.vw and 
Ijh-I ions, the ^neatest seoni|r(,s of society nm\ of 
IIh' prosperity of nations. Of the two kinds ol 
(l(>sp()lisns the repnhlienn inid rnonarehieal. the 
latter is the less ; it is more easy 
<(> NulKlne the passions of one, than of many. 
The violent -v-ts of republican despotism are 
i^^cnerally more atrocious and cruel, hecansc 
(iiey are the effects and the causes of a gn^atcr 
ai»frre,trate of private passions and private inte- 
!i'sts. In repid)lics, the tyranny scarcely ever 
perishes with the tyrants, and their dema-ofrue:, 
are ^r(>neral!y worse than the most proflijrate of 
l<inf,^-. Of this truth, history furnishes con- 
vincm- proof; and the thirty tyrants of (ireece, 
the triumvirs of Home, the Cordeliers, Jaco- 
bins, Girondins,and Marseillois of France, sanc- 
tion the belief that their succession is more 
uninterrupted. Besides, the peo|)lc of Turkey 
and Morocco, who know under what despotism 
they are doomed to live, sometimes succeed in 
protectini.- themselves, if not entirely, at least 
partially, against its cruelty and oppression- 
whilst theCireeks, the Romans, and the French! 
who fancied themselves free, were blinded to 




their danger, and neglected the means of de- 
fending themselves against the Lysanders and 
Callibiuses, the Syllas and Mariuses, the Marc 
Antonys and Octaviuses, the Petions, the Bris- 
sots, the Dantons, and the Robespierres. 

Some men seem to think they can plant re- 
publics in all directions as easily as carrots. I 
like republics when there are no obstacles to 
their establisliment ; but in Europe, I think, 
they are not likely to be productive of any good. 
It is indisputable that when men become kings 
they generally become wicked ; and it is equally 
so that it would be difficult now-a-days to find 
a Leonidas, an Agesilaus, a Marcus Aurelius, a 
Trajan, an Alfred, or a Henry IV. It must, 
however, be admitted that the government best 
adapted to the actual state of Europe is a con- 
stitutional monarchy, in which the liberty of 
the press, the balance of the three powers, and 
consequently an opposition, which is to empires 
what light is to darkness, form one combined, 
harmonious system. 

As to republics, we are too old and decrepid. 
Bis pueri, hi hifantia et in senectute. In the 
first case, though we do not walk firmiy, our 
physical and moral faculties are free to unfold 
themselves, unfettered by long-established pre- 
judices ; in the second, we walk with crutches, 
which, like the vices of inveterate habit, shew 



at once feebleness and decline. Republics 
are, therefore, adapted only to a new people, 
who still retain some traces of patriarchal and 
domestic government ; who are strangers to the 
tumultuous conflicts of passion, to luxury, and to 
the prestige of titles, dignities and privileges ; 
whose necks have never bent under the yoke of 
theocracy and superstition ; 

Et oil Tail- de la cour, et son souffle infecte 
N'altera de leur coeur I'aust^re piirete. 

The history both of ancient and modern times 
confirms my opinion : a republic would be fatal 
even to England ; it would alarm the prejudices, 
the habits, the privileges, and the aristocratical 
spirit, which are so firmly rooted in the country ; 
it would convert the whole kingdom into one 
scene of anarchy, and would evrntually substi- 
tute slavery for that rational liberty which alone 
is durable, aid in which she now so justly glories-. 
It appears to me, therefore, that the inhabitants 
of the United States are at present the only 
people who can live under the order of things 
which they so happily enjoy, the duration of 
which must depend upon their own conduct and 

But if I detest the anarchy of republics, I 
must yet wish that monarchs were more virtu- 
ous, just, and consistent; more disposed to 



- i 4 



recollect that their subjects are men like them- 
selves, and to admit that p/us v'nloit oculi quam 
oculus. 1 was at Rome, when our celebrated 
abbe Mai discovered upon some ancient paliuip- 
scMa, the fragments Dc Rcpuhlicd of Cicero. 
The words which attracted my attention, in this 
sublime work, were " Optimani puto esse rcm- 
piiblkam, qiuc l\v tr'ibus o'uUnihus comt'ituta est; 
rcgali, equestri, et populan.'" What 1 value in 
this form of government is, that, while it provides 
for the happiness of the people, it secures that 
of the sovereign, accurately defines his duties, 
and thus tends to keep his mind in that tranquil 
state which has the most beneficial influence on 
his subjects. A king under the guidance of these 
three oracles, which are rendered almost in- 
fallible by the check they exercise on each 
other, is invested, as Fenelon says, with abso- 
lute power to do good, but is powerless to do 
evil. The laws confide a nation to him, — the 
most precious of all deposits, — on condition that 
he become the father of his subjects. An in- 
spired voice seems to address him in these 
words : ** Favourite of heaven, to whom the sons 
of men, thy equals, have entrusted sovereign 
power, — -to whom they have assigned the office 
of their leader, — consider less the splendour of 
the rank, than the importance of the deposit. 
The purple is thy garment, and the throne thy 




seat ; the crown of majesty decks thy bnnv • 
the sceptre of power adorns thy hand ; but from 
these thou derivest no other lustre than .^ as far 
as they are emblems of thy high services to the 

A prince (said some one whose name I cannot 
recollect) who aspires to despotic power, aspires 
to die of amuL If you wish, in any kingdom 
whatever, to find the most miserable man in it, 
go straight to the sovereign, -above all if he be 
absolute. It is an admirable piece of calculation, 
o be sure, to render so many persons discon- 
tented and unhappy, only to live surrounded 
by suspicion, fear, and hatred; feelings not 
es. dangerous to the happiness of the state, 
than to the security of the throne. 

Still preaching, my dear Countess, and what 
IS worse, preaching like St John in the wilder- 
ness ; but a desire for the public good, and for 
some degree of individual tranquillity, speaks as 
eloquently in forests and steam-boats, as in great 
cities and parliaments. 

The town of St Genevieve, at about sixty 
miles from the east, and also upon the western 
banK bears the same appearance of aisance and 
population we have already remarked, and 
suggests the same reflections and the same con- 

The policy of Castlereagh in giving a trium- 



niK A SKI A 

virate to iMirope, has, I lluuk, scaled one of the 
pvatest faults of the cabinet of St .lamcs's ; for 
wliilc lie inflicted (his cruel wound on the ii}»iits 
and libt rties of the |)eoi)le of the several hiUro- 
pean })o\vers, he not only |)ut formidable wea- 
pons into the hands of their despots, but, by 
encourai>inn', or rather forcing emigration, opened 
to the Tnited Stales, the great rivals of Juigland, 
an exhaustless source of p()|)ulati()n, industry, 
talents, opulence, and physical and moral 

Between Cape Girardeau and St (icnevit^'vc 
is the atHux of the river Kaskaskia, which des- 
cends from the east and gives its name to a 
village hve miles from its mouth. This was 
one of the first establishments formed by the 
French in the valley of the Mississippi. Almost 
immediately after the English made themselves 
masters of it in 17G3, it began to decline from its 
prosperity. The settlers, who hated their new 
masters, abandoned it, and joined the Spanish 
settlements on the opposite bank. 

Fort Chartres, which the French built at a 
great expense, on the eastern bank, and which 
the Americans abandoned as useless, is now of 
no value but as a subject for a picture of roman- 
tic ruins. 

Groups of islands scattered here and there, 
frequently formed most delightful views ; they 



seemed embedded in liquid fire, as Wxv. y;oUhm 
rays of the sun were reHeeted in the water. 

At one hundred and forty-five miles fVoni 
Ohio, a lovely distanee-^rendered still more 
lovely by ilK, softeni..- shades of aerial per- 
speetivc- opens upon you, as by enchantment, 
for five miles, to the village of Ilereulaneum, 
which, in its turn, deliohts you with tlK3 most 
beautifully varied lane' .ape. If it were crowned 
too by a Vesuvius, it wouhl be as interesting-, and 
more picturesque than that Ilereulaneum whose 
venerable ruins lie hidden under i»ortici and 
Kesina. Towers built upon the rock, by which 
it is irregularly encircled, while they enhance 
Its natural beauties, excite an interest and sur- 
prise by the use to which they are applied. 

From the tops of these towers, which project 
from the perpendicular rock, is thrown melted 
lead, that cools in its descent through the air 
becomes round, and fixlls in a shower of pearls' 
or, m other words, of shot. The large or small 
holes of the iron sieve through which the boiling 
metal is poured, regulate the sizes required'' 
A lead mine gave birth to this village, which 
dady mereases in extent and prosperity. 

At a short distance from Ilereulaneum the 

steam-boat stopped at a little cottage, built with 

trunks of trees, placed horizontally one upon 

another, the interstices being filled with a ee^ 

VOL. rr. 

■T 11.JU1. ;- 


( % 



I.l'Xl KV l\ A I.OCi-noUSK. 

mcnt of ciirth, intcMniixccl with straw. It coii- 
sistcd of a «^rouii(l floor only, and its roof was 
formed of ])icccs of wood cleft witli a wedge. 

I saw a lady come out, very well dressed, and 
followed by a negress carrying a cbild wrapped 
np in very fine linen ; she was going by the 
steam-boat. 1 thought I was dreaming one of 
the tales of the Aoi/cr de Bowvoito, when in- 
formed that this hut was her habitation. 

I immediately jumped on shore, and asked 
for a glass of spring water ; this gave me an op- 
portunity of entering the only door it had, and 
which made nie bow very low. The interior 
and exterior presented as striking a contrast as 
that of a lady and a cottage. Her husband, 
to whom the house belonged, had a small farm, 
out of which he had to provide for the main- 
tenance of a mother, a sister, and two children 
of his own. 

The luxury in this log-house astonished me ; 
and reminded me of what I had observe ." in the 
eastern states : it also led me to reflect, that 
the decline of this nation might be as sudden 
as its rise, were not the natural resources of the 
country so unbounded that its improvement 
keeps pace with tlie encreasing wants of the 

At one hundred and fifty miles from the Ohio 
is the river Marimak, which descends from the 

It coil- 
)ot' was 
eel, and 
by the 
one of 
hen in- 

l asked 
; an op- 
m\, and 
itrast as 
dl farm, 
D main- 

ed me ; 
i' in the 
ct, that 
3S of the 
5 of the 

the Ohio 
from the 



wst an<l lea,ls to s„mc lead-mincs, 
Ilic banks to a considerable extent in the m- 

On the morning of tli. 04th, ^.^^y ^^ 
Iiouses, on the lops of smiling hills, command- 
ing the nver-lands cleared for cultivation, 
mtcrspcrsed with woods and forests, and the 
distant view of a number of houses, shewed that 
we were approaching the principal town of 
^'pper Louisiana, which we reached at eight 
o clock m the morning. It is about one hundred 
and seventy miles from the mouth of the Ohio 

Houses with Chinese projecting roofs, that 
cover the galleries round each story, and which 
are rather pretty, though in a whimsical style of 
architecture, prove that St Louis was a town of 
some importance even under the Spaniards ; but 
new streets, a new market-place, large stores, 
busy manufactures, gay gardens, all of recent 
date, shew that it is greatly encreased since it 
belonged to a government under whose aus- 
pices, merit is the sole distinction; which asks 
no more than is necessary for the supply of the 
real and known exigencies of the state, and 
whose executive is vigilantly watched by a 
senate, a congress, and by the jealousy of a sus- 
picious and distrustful people. 

It is true that there are many abuses in the 
IJnited States, particularly in the provinces re- 



i f I 



tnH ; 

mote from tlic capital. This is more especially 
true with relation to tlie administration of jus- 
tice, to the appallin«2^ number and chicanery of 
the lawyers, and to the laws vvhicli afford secu- 
rity and encouragement to tlie frecpienl./ im- 
pudent frauds of merchants. It is true that in- 
dividuals are not always the representatives of 
those liberal principles that form the basis of 
the government; but it is indisputable that their 
constitution bears the stamp of wisdom and of 
magnanimity, that it affords the people ample 
security for person and property, and for their 
privileges as citizens ; and even to foreigners, not 
only a safe asylum, but a new country, with the 
free exercise of their religion, talents, and in- 
dustry, and a perfect independence. 

A slight historical sketch will show that it 
was the restless desire for change, and thirst for 
gold, which first prostrated these regions, and 
that perseverance and enlightened principles 
have now rendered them flourishing settle- 

Father Marguette was the first person sent by 
the governor of Canada, in 1673, to explore the 
Mississippi. From lake Michigan, he entered 
Green Bay on the west, ascended Fox's river, 
that communicates by a short land passage 
with the Owisconsin, which he coasted until its 
confluence with the Mississippi, and descended 



the latter river as far as the mouth of the Mis- 
soiiri. 13iit as lie did not find what he soii.rht _ 
that ,s to say, gold an<l silver mincs.-a.uras'l.e 
had then neither time nor means for attemj.tin.. 
t/.e eonversion of the savages, he abandone'l hi^ 
mission, an<l returned to (Juebee without havintr 
aceo,n|.lishe<l any of the projects of the sneeu- 
latois of that place. 

•Some time after, Dc la Salle, who was 
n>ore gree<ly perhaps of glory than of n.oney 
voluntarily undertook to examine this conn' 
try more accurately. He crossed lakes On- 
tario ami Erie, traversed a desart, and came 
out at the southern extremity of lake Michi-^an ■ 
he descended the Illinois, but finding „ot1,i„. 
answerable to his hopes, he stopped midway in 
his course, at the point where that river swells 
mto a lake ; built a little fort, the name of which 
(O-eve-UurJ was probably but too expressive 
of the result of his expedition, and soon Returned 
to Canada. 

The chevalier Tonti, to whom De la Salle had 
left the command of this little settlement was 
soon weary of enduring all that its name im- 
ported, and followed him; while father Hanne 
pm. whom he had sent up the Mississippi, was 
not long absent from his neophytes at Quebec, 
whither he brought home no better treasures to 
the expectmg and disappointed governor, than 



tlie hopi* ol' Nvimuiiii^ Imliuii souls tu the Ca- 
tlutlic icli<;i()ii and to J'uradisi'. 

In a sul)scqiUMit expedition, the hVeiieh p^ave 
the name ol" I'di/i-co/trt to the spot where St 
Louis now stands, and tliat of Vuks-Pocln's to a 
little village five niik\s from henee, wliieh still 
bears that name. These names, like that of 
CriTt-CdNr, were not very eneoura,i;in«j: ; and 
acei>rdinuiy their settlements had fallen almost 
to nothing, towards tlu^ middle of the last een- 

The taking of them by the Spaniards — resisted 
by the settlers, who did not ehoose to have any 
masters but the I'reneh — was so marked by 
pcrhdy and eruelty, that the name of O'Reilly 
is never uttered by the jieople without the epi- 
thet, the cruel ; and they were henceforth subject 
to the most unbridled licentiousness and the most 
arbitrary despotism. Tt is therefore only since 
they possess a constitution founded on rcs[)cct 
for popular rights, and for the general welfare 
of society, that they have begun to prosper; 
appearances now promise them ample indemni- 
fication for their past calamities. 

When we see so many benefits flow from a 
free government, our surprise is equal to our 
disgust at the efforts made by sovereigns to 
strengthen their power by arbitrary principles. 
A free government invites, encourages, ani- 




mates; a di-spotic one cnltehlcs, dogiatlcs, pu- 
ralyzcs. 'I'ho lonucr uttaclics people to their 
country, wliere tliey can live tranquilly, sur- 
rounded l)y tli(^ oLjecIs of their dearest atlee- 
tions; \hv. latter forces them into exile, or em- 
bitters their lives by fear, or compels them to 
live in dre.'u-y celibacy rather than furnish -. y 
Nubjects for slavery. The former aliords security 
ami content to all ; the hitler renders even kings 
insecure, and makes them and the llaltercrs, the 
courtiers and the ministers uho delude them, a 
prey to continual alarm ; their lives are beset 
by ao-itations and danocrs ; their minds are tor- 
mented by remorse,~that terrific chastisement 
of heaven, which no human power can avert;— 
the public wait eagerly for their death, to load 
their memory with louder execration and deeper 
infamy : while the monarch who spontaneously 
and sincerely grants a constitution to his sub- 
jects, consonant with the claims of reason and of 
justice, reaps the first and best fruits of the 
happiness it bestows, both in the benedictions 
of his people, in the delightful sight of the bene- 
fits he has conferred, in the tranquillity which 
attends every hour of his life, and in the hope 
that history will immortalize his name ; a hope 
so animating and so ennobling, that Plato look 
It as the foundation of his system of iuture 





Thus, as I have told you, the king- of Bavaria 
and the grand duke of Baden can walk through 
the streets, market places, and public walks 
of their dominions, without any guard but the 
testimony of their own consciences, and the love 
of their subjects. In such a manner, with such 
principles, under the guardianship of public 
veneration, and at peace with heaven and earth, 
it is indeed worth while to bear the burthen of 

All these vast western regions have been much 
neglected in the history of America : indeed a 
new one is greatly wanted ; for the most recent 
is obsolete : the country is continually changing 
its aspect, and furnishing new materials. Few 
Europeans take such a ramble twice in their 
lives, and the last comer always knows more of 
the country than any of his predecessors ; who 
could not see wha^ did not yet exist. This 
induces me to depart a little from my plan of 
describing only what I see, and to detain your at- 
tention and my pen a little more on these regions. 

St Louis, after Napoleon ceded it to the United 
States, became the residence of the governor, and 
the metropolis of those vast regions constituting 
the territory of the Missouri. 

Since a part of this territory has been erected 
into a stale, St Louis is only the seat of a district 
court of justice. St Charles's, on the Missouri, 

I .". 



is the capital, and is already a small town, though 
it was but a little village two years ago ( 1 82 1 ) the 
time at which the state was received as a member 
of the federate body under the name of the State 
of Missouri. The territory, which still exists, 
is governed by a separate administration, ap- 
pointed by the executive of the general govern- 
ment of the union. 

The trade of St Louis is prodigiously en- 
creased. The merchandize which it furnishes 
to the traders with the Indians of the north and 
west, in exchange for their furs, which are 
almost all sent hither, — the provisions with 
which it supplies all the garrisons and new 
settlements over the whole extent of this vast 
country,— are sources of great profit, as well as 
of constant employment for all classes. The 
beneficial effects of its prosperity are widely felt. 
From New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, 
it receives all the products of Europe or Asia, 
while New Orleans furnishes it with ail that it re- 
quires from the West Indies and South America. 

The savages, instigated by the great enemies of 
America, have committed extensive ravages here 
at various times ; but now, with a population of 
more than seven thousand souls, and defended 
by several distant forts, built on the principal 
rivers which flow through their tribes, it has 
little to fear from their tomahawks. 

|. ftir 




St Louis has likewise its antiquities. There 
is no proof that the ancients had any knowledge 
of the existence of America. Plato's Atlantis 
appears to me only a dream or allegorical fable ; 
and those who have imagined allusions to Ame- 
rica in Aristotle, Diodorus, Theopompus, Seneca, 
&c., did nol j^erhaps consider that with vessels 
like those of the Phcrnicians, Greeks, and Ro- 
mans, it was impossible to perform so long and 
difficult a voyage; particularly without the guid- 
ance of the mariner's compass, which was not 
known till the beginning of the fourteenth cen- 
tury. We are likewise completely at a loss as 
to wdience and how this continent (or island) was 
peopled ; and all the contradictory conjectures 
of difterent writers have but shed additional 
darkness on the subject. It is however certain, 
that Columbus, Cortez, Pizarro, Verazani, (a 
Florentine, who first led the French into Ame- 
rica,) and Cabot, or Gaboto, all found traces of 
ancient civilization. To the times when this 
civilization existed, I think myself warranted in 
referring the elevations or mounds, in the neigh- 
bourhood of St Louis and elsewhere, evidently 
the work of art, and which attracted my atten- 
tion, and excited my surprise. 

The ancients paid greater honours to their 
gods than we do; and also to the. manes of their 
heroes or their kindred. Persepolis and Palmira 

I V 



in Asia, Memphis and Thebes in Africa, Rome 
and Athens in Europe, still bear witness to tliis 
by their magnificent ruins, while history gives 
concurrent testimony to the same fact. The 
mounds of St Louis appear to me to prove the 
same in favour of the aborigines of America. 
Some of them are parallelograms, like the Par- 
thenon and the Basilica at Paestum ; others 
circular, like the ancient temples of the sun; 
others are pyramidal, or in the form of the sarco- 
phagi of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. 
One of them is particularly worthy of mention : 
it is of an oblong form ; its circumference at its 
base is about three hundred feet, it is sixty feet 
high, and its summit is a plateau, also oblong, 
five feet v/ide and forty-five feet long. A stage of 
triangular form, which rises to the height of 
seven or eight feet, embraces the whole eastern 
side of its base. This is exactly like the altar 
which the Persians consecrated to their god 
Mithra; and the great altar of the Olympic 
Games, and others in Eiis were simply mounds 
of earth. 

The gods of ancient idolaters were probably 
only beneficent heroes, who were first the objects 
of their gratitude, and gradually of their adora- 
tion. The simple heap of earth which covered 
their remains would thus become an altar : and 



fo i^!'? 

such perhaps was the origin of these Indian 

From the top of this great sanctuary, the eye 
commands a delightful and extensive prospect 
over land and water. 

As the population of St Louis is an assemblage 
of various nations, society is less cold and formal 
than in purely American towns. The evening 
before last I was at a very brilliant ball, where 
the ladies were so pretty, and so well dressed, 
that they made me forget I was on the threshold 
of savage life. 

I saw some of the Indians ?and yesterday from 
their cancels ; I was surprised at their grotesque 
appearance ; for being a little given to pyrrho- 
nism, I had always doubted the accounts I had 
read of them. However, my dear Madam, I 
hope soon to see them more closely, and to 
observe the workings of their minds and the 
habits of their lives, and I shall then be able to 
judge better of them than by books ; for writers 
often follow the fashion of an artist I once saw at 
Rome : he was painting a valley of St Bernard, 
which he had never seen, and without a sketch. 

Here, as in the cities of the east, all sorts of 
religions are permitted. America is a perfect 
Babe' in this respect ; it exceeds even England ; 
and the emulation among all these different se»,ts 



will be still more advantageous to industry and 
to morals than in that country, from their perfect 
equality in the eye of the law. The government 
affords equal protection to all, and recognizes 
no dominant faith. It has reserved to itself only 
the right of punishing any who might dare to 
raise the standard of intolerance. 

The Catholics are the most numerous at St 
Louis ; but their priests here, as everywhere else, 
bring shame and contempt on Catholicism. They 
arrogate a spiritual jurisdiction over balls, polite 
fimusements, &c., and prj into family secrets ; 
then they sow discord among some, disgust others 
with their interference, and thus scatter schism 
and scandal in all directions : instead of gaining 
proselytes, they make apostates. It appears 
that ev€n here they are resolved to justify the 
often- repeated accusation, that bishops and Je- 
suits are the fittest instruments for the oppres- 
sion and degradation of mankind. It is to be 
hoped, however, that more enlightened clergy 
will arise, and will see the danger of defiling 
religion, and irritating the people ; and, like 
St Chrysostom, Massillon, and other fathers of 
the church, will denounce the vices of Tartuffes 
and the ambition and tyranny of princes. 
Adieu, my dear Countess. 



Fort St Anthony, at the confluence of rivers 
St Peter and Alississippi, 

]\Iay2Ath, 1823. 

One comes to America, my dear Countess, to 
see a new world ; but it is only here, in these 
desarts, that it is to be found in all the extension 
of the term. 

A river of vast extent, of a majesty which it 
is difficult to conceive ; a country presenting 
extraordinary features at every step ; a race of 
men entirely different from those of Europe ; 
afford abundance of new and important subjects 
for philosophical meditation, gratify the curiosity 
with the most agreeable surprise, and divert the 
afflicted mind from the subject of its regrets. 
I have felt every impression which so novel a 

M i 



scene is capable of producing ; but it opens a 
field of reflection and conjecture beyond the 
extent of my limited understanrlino-, and acces- 
sible only to minds of the highest attainments in 

I will, however, tell you, my dear Madam, 
what I have seen and felt : you will sympathise 
in it all. ^ ^ 

On the 2nd inst. I set out with major Tagli- 
awar from St Louis, where general Clark, who 
resides there, remained. Our antiquaries will, 
I thmk, this time be satisfied with me. I re- 
commended to his special protection the savage 
antiquities by which he is surrounded ; one of 
which, a presumptuous hand has already pro- 
faned. As an additional gratification, I will tell 
them that these are by some persons believed to 
be the military posts of the Indians; but erro- 
neously, for elevations completely exposed, like 
these, are in direct opposition to their whole 
system of warfare. 

Our passage to this place forms, I think, an 
epoch in the history of navigation. It was an 
enterprise of the boldest, of the most extraordi- 
nary nature ; and probably unparalleled. Never 
before did a steam-boat ascend a river twenty-two 
thousand miles above its mouth. The vessel 
which conveyed us was the Virginia, one hundred 
and eighteen feet long, and twenty-two wide. 




drawing six feet water, and of two thousand tons 

The name of captain Perston deserves to be 
proclaimed by one of the hundred mouths of 
Fame. He is justly entitled to the admiration 
of mankind, to the gratitude of his fellow- 
citizens, and of his government. 

To add to the novelty, the Great E(/"ic, a 
chief of a tribe of the Saukis, was of our party. 
General Clark, with whom he had come to hold 
a conference, persuaded him, with much diffi- 
culty, to consign his canoe to some other savages, 
and join our company. The first thing he did, 
when we were some distance from shore, was to 
take off the uniform which had been given him 
by the general, as a present from the Great 
Father, (the name used by the savages to desig- 
nate the president of the United States.) He 
shewed great satisfaction at finding himself once 
more in statu quo of our first parents. The 
youngest of his two children had not even a fig- 
leaf, or bit of cloth round the loins, whilst we 
were shivering with cold, though wrapped in our 
winter fiannel and great coats. 

At six miles from St Louis, the current of the 
Mississippi becomes very rapid. We were ap- 
proaching the mouth of the Missouri, which is 
only eighteen miles from that town ; and, not- 
withstanding the power of our steam-boat, we 

I UK Missouui 

I tons 

to be 
:hs of 

'(fk, a 
;o hold 
li diffi- 
lie did, 
was to 
en him 
) desig- 
;.) He 
elf once 
^ The 
;n a fig- 
hilst we 
d in our 

Lit of the 
vere ap- 
which is 
aid, not- 
)oat, we 


did not come in sight of this river before eight 
o'clock the followiiio- mornin"-. 

An island, which obstructs the flow o^ this 
mass of water at the very point where it falls 
into the Mississippi, protects the l)oats wliich 
l)ass behind it, and breaks the i)ressiire of its 
enormous volume: but for this ])recaiition pro- 
vided by nature, it would perhaps be dangerons 
to pass when the river is full. 

Notwithstanding the travels of Messrs Lewis 
and Chirk, (the general Clark just mentioned) 
and the subsequent accounts of Messrs JJraken- 
ridge and Bradbury, the sources of the Missouri 
are still unknown : it appears ce tain, however, 
that its course, from its confluence up to the 
highest known j)oint, is almost as long as that 
of the Mississippi, and jicrhaps the liquid vo- 
lume of each is equally powerful at their junc- 
tion. The Missouri should therefore, [ think, 
have retained its name as far as that part where 
the Mississippi loses its own in the Gulf of 
Mexico ; its course would then have been about 
four thousand five hundred miles. But a great 
part of the Mississippi was known when the 
Mis-ouri was undiscovered ; and all the rivers of 
Louisiana flowing into it, as into a central basin, 
had already been declared its tributaries. His- 
tory and geography had already settied its 
name, so that there was no appeal. But per- 

VOI . [1. 




' ^- it'* ''' 

haps it has juster claims to its sovereignty. If 
I can survey the whole of its course, I will en- 
deavour, as far as my attention and knowledge 
permit, to fill up this chasm in history and geo- 

If, however, the Missouri must resign its pre- 
eminence to the Mississippi, no one will dispute 
its supremacy over all the tributary rivers in the 

The afflux of the Illinois, which is also a very 
considerable river, is twenty-one miles higher, 
towards the east. At about two hundred miles 
above its mouth, Mr La Salle built the fort 
Crh'c-Ca'ur. This name appears not to have 
been more propitious in the estimation of the 
Americans than in that of the French, for they 
soon abandoned and demolished the fort. The 
Illinois took its name from the savage nation 
that dwelt upon its banks ; a nation which, like 
that of the Missouris, has ceased to exist, or 
has merged in others. The eastern bank of the 
Mississippi, opposite the village called the Por- 
tage lies SioiLv, leading from the Illinois to the 
Missouri, rises in abrupt rocks, hewn by nature 
into perpendicular pillars. They are so like the 
substructures of the palaces of Pompey and 
Domitian in the Villa Barberini upon Lake AI- 
bano, as to be a perfect illusion. I almost ima- 
gined I was there. 



y- If 

ill en- 
vied ge 
d geo- 

ts pre- 


in the 

a very 
:l miles 
he fort 
;o have 
of the 
or they 
t. The 
; nation 
ch, like 
xist, or 
k of the 
the Por- 
s to the 
y nature 
like the 
3ey and 
:.ake Al- 
ost ima- 

i • 

This excursion, my dear Madam, is nearly as 
long as that on the Ohio. It is much more fertile 
in incidents, and in scenes but slightly known 
even in America. This may sometimes retard 
our progress, but I will confine myself to what 
is most essential or most singular; to the most 
interesting points, and to the distances most 
necessary to be known; lest my letter should be 
converted into a volume, and your patience into 

Clarksville and Louisiana are two pretty rising 
villages ; the latter is a hundred and twelve miles 
from St Louis. 

From the top of a pretty hill which overlooks 
it, the eye rests on nothing but immense and 
impenetrable woods, the only asylum we have 
henceforth to expect ; for, with the exception of 
the forts established upon the Mississippi, and a 
small village called the Prairie du Chien, this is 
the last vestige of civilization towards the north. 
The morning of the 6th presented to our view 
one of those great natural features which mark 
many districts on the north-west of North Ame- 
rica, and especially in Upper Mississippi ;— the 
Prairie aiuv Liards, — one hundred and eighty 
miles from St Louis. 

The United States and Canada, with all their 
immense dependencies, exhibit one continued 
forest, the largest perhaps in the world ; inter- 




h s 

ruptod only l)y viist «i;lii(lcs inlaid with villat;vs, 
market-towns, cities, fields, ponds, and i< ter- 
sected in every direction by rivers. I^^hteen 
parts ont oi' twenty, perhaps, still remain in a 
wild, nncultivatcd state; of these the forests of 
the Mississi[)pi are a continnation. 

In the midst of these im[)enctral)le masses of 
trees which cover the face of the earth, and 
whose birth, life and death are exclusively in 
the hand of nature, one meets with extensive 
and beautiful tracts of meadow land, destitute 
not only of trees, but even of shrubs or bushes ; 
or they sometimes exhibi*^ the still more re- 
markable a|)i)earance of j,. cs and clumps of 
trees, disposed with so much art and synmietry, 
that, but for the death-like silence which per- 
vades this vast solitude, it would be impossible 
not to think that they had been placed there by 
the hand of man. It is evident too that the grass 
in these places has never fallen under any scythe 
but that of Time. This, my dear Countess, is a 
phenomenon wdiich bewildered my eyes and my 

On the 9th, whilst the steam-boat was taking 
in wood, I wandered into a forest which bounded 
one of these beautiful caprices of nature. The 
varied forms and tints wdiich this contrast im- 
parted to the landscape, whilst they continually 
arrested my steps, insensibly led me on ; and a 




and a 

flock ol" wild turkeys, winch eluded my pursuit, 
induced me to ^o so Cur that I was unable to re- 
gain the place where the steam-boat had sto[)ped. 
In this dilennna my compass was my guide ; but 
what was my suprisc at finding the vessel 
gone! A bend of the Mississippi concealed 
every signal I could make ; and the discharges 
of my gun resounded vainly in the forest, and 
under the canopy of heaven. At last I betook 
myself to my last resource—my legs ; but the 
speed of Atalanta would have been useless 
among the brushwood and the ruins of /nr- 
adamitc trees, scattered around like the ancient 
monuments of Egypt, Greece, and Home : all 
my efforts woidd have been vain, but fortu- 
nately, the steam-boat ran a-ground on a sand- 
bank. At this moment my companions made 
the discovery that I was missing. The canoe 
which was dispatched to meet me arrived just 
in time, for I was so completely out of breath 
that 1 must have given up the pursuit. It 
seemed as if the moment of my appearance had 
been appointed as that of lier extrication ; for 1 
had scarcely arrived when she was a- float. If 
I had been as ready to believe in divine interpo- 
sitions as some good people, I should certainly 
not have let slip this opportunity of proclaiming 
a miracle in favour of a Catholic over a number of 
heretics, who seemed plotting his destruction. 



. .^M^^. 'vrftfvUu 




You are a little angry, dear Lady, with the 
captain of the steam-boat; L»ut I must, in some 
measure, take his part. The Americans have 
a sort of evasive ** Yes," very convenient for 
settling doubts or shuffling off troublesome en- 
quiries; and with a yes of this kind he had 
been made to believe that I was on board. 
But be this as it may, it is a good lesson for 
those who, like me, are not punctual when 
they tra\'cl by a public conveyance. For- 
tune, too, seemed willing to compensate me for 
any little ill-humour I might have felt at a mark 
of indifference which certainly seemed uu pea 
sauvage. A scene was prepari.ig which afforded 
me abundant cause for laughter. The Great 
Eagle, vexed and angry that the pilot had not 
taken his advice respecting the choice of the 
channel, jumped into the river and swam to the 
western bank, whence he spoke to his children ; 
and disdaining to remain any longer in the 
steam-boat, returned home, that is to say, into 
the forest. This was the first incident that gave 
me an insight into the character of these people. 
The following day we found him surrounded by 
his tribe at Fort Edward, where he had arrived 
before us. They had formed a temporary en- 
campment and were exchanging furs with the 
traders of the South-west Company. 

Scarcely were we within sight of the encamp- 



ment, when the cliildrcn of the Great Eagle 
plunged into tlie river and swam to their den 
with all the eagerness of wild beasts escaping 
from a incmr^crlc into their native forests. The 
Great Eagle came on board to take his bow, 
quiver, and gun; and although he was exas- 
perated ngainst the people of the boat, he put 
out his hand to me as a mark of friendship, and 
as a proof that I had no share in the resentment 
which he felt for the others. I availed myself 
of this favourable moment to ask him for a 
scalp suspended by the hair to the handle of 
his tomahawk. It was the pericranium of a 
chief of the Sioux, whom he had killed with his 
own hand the preceding year. Savages have no 
control over the impulse of the moment ; and as 
the Great Eagle was now as much softened 
as he had been the day before irritated, he 
could not refuse my request. This scalp is as 
honourable a trophy to an Indian, as a horse's 
tail is to a Turk, a Tartar, or a Chinese. 

Fort Edward is built upon a promontory on 
the eastern bank of the Mississippi ; its situation, 
which is very pleasant, commands a great ex- 
tent of the river and the surrounding country^ 
as well as the mouth of the rivsr Le Moine 
which descends from the west and is navigable 
for three hundred miles into the interior. The 
banks of this river are inhabited by the Yawohus, 


I J 

C I 

■^n \ 

»♦ A 



a saviige people, who have been ahnost entirely 
destroyed by the Sioux. 

Fort Edward is two hundred and twelve miles 
from St Louis ; it is on the boundary of the two 
states of Illinois and Missouri. 

It will be necessary, before we proceed, to 
endeavour to form some notion of the geogra- 
phical and statistical divisions of the countiies 
we are preparing to visit. Without this preli- 
minary information we sliould often be quite at 

The American government, after having in- 
corporated the whole of Louisiana with the 
Union, divided into Territories all those coun- 
tries not sufliciently populous to be formed into 
States. The whole extent of country beyond 
Fort Edward, on the east of the Mississippi as 
far as its sources, belongs to the territory of Mi- 
chigan, which also comprises all the regions along 
the western banks of lakes Erie, St Clair, Huron 
and Superior. i\ll the country beyond the fort 
just mentioned, on the west of the Mississippi 
as far as its sources, and even still farther, which 
belonged to the territoiy of the Missouri be- 
fore it was formed into a state, is now distin- 
guished only under the name of Savage Lands; 
for throughout their whole extent there are no 
other traces of civilization than a few scattered 
huts belonging to traders, who are themselves 




tlie descendants of savages. Arkansau and 
Florida form two other territories. Each terri- 
tory is entirely subject to the general govern- 
ment of the United States, at Washington ; that 
is to say, it is under its immediate jurisdiction, 
and receives from it a governor, judges, and 
receivers of taxes, as a country still in the in- 
fancy of civilization. A territory has the right 
of sending only one representative to the national 
congress, who has no vote but in discussions 
concerning his own territory. 

As all these territories aiu chiefly inhabited 
by savage tribes, the government has had the 
wisdom to organize in each of them an inlcii- 
clcnici) and .subintendancks, whose business it is 
to watch over and protect these people ; to pre- 
vent abuses on the part of those who are autho- 
rized to trade with them, and to oppose the 
usurpation of that light by foreigners. 

This measure was particularly necessary, 
because the English North-west company had 
already extended its establishments very far into 
the territory of the United States, which enabled 
the cabinet of St James's to excite and direct, 
as opportunity ofl'ered, the passions of the sa- 
vages against the United States. 

The governors of the different territories are, 
e.v officio, the intcnditnts of the Indians within their 
jurisdiction, and general Clark is the intaulant 






I'()Nri,\(, V\lh. SAI'KIS (Hill- 

olall {]\c liuliau tril)(\s lyins^ npon (ho IMissouri 
and lMississi|)])i above St Louis. 

After (Ins hiii'l" skotclj of \vha( is most cssrn- 
(ial we niinlit more a{lvaji(ai>eoiisly pursiie our 
oxeuision ; l)u( it will not be amiss (o stop an 
instant lonqer lor the purpose of taking a tran- 
sien( view of these Indians, — the (irst we inee( 
with towards (he nor(h. 

The Saukis, half a cenlury aii^o, were one of 
(he mos( numerous and powtMl'ul Indian nations. 
The famous Pon(iae, (he bravest and most formi- 
dable savage ever known, was their j)rineipal 
ehief. Next to (he IMonte/.umas, and the Incas, 
no one amoui:' {\\c a))ori«»ines of America h;is an 
ecpial elaim (o his(orienl e(debri(y, yet his 
name is nowhere recorded, lie was the im- 
placable enemy of the l^nglish, who in vain 
exerted every ell'ort to bring him over to (heir 
interests. lie continually harassed them in 
(heir conijuests of those countries from the 
French, to whom he showed the most devoted 
anil unshaken attachmeni. 

Willi a cunning, courage, and ferocity more 
than savage, he repeatedly massacred their gar- 
risons in several forts, and particularly in those 
of Detroit on Lake St Clair, and Mieliilima- 
kinak on lake Huron. At the moment when 
with unconquerable hatred he was meditating 
other acts of hostility, he was assassinated by 

^ i 




;in OltfiwiiiH, iin iMuissuiy in the; pay of tlic 

His tni^ical cud was llic. signal for an atro- 
cious war between liis nation, who dctcrniincd 
to avenge hirn, and (he Ottnwais, IIk; Wine- 
begos, and the Potoinawais, — savjige nations 
which still exist in small numbers upon lakes 
Michigan, I'irie, Huron, and in the countries 
east ol the JVIississi|)pi, - who Ibrmed ;i coalition 
against them in favour of the hhiglish. 'f'lie 
greater part of the Sauk is were destroyed : their 
number now scarcely amounts to 4,H()0. 

I visited their camp : their Hying t(;nls or 
iiuts, which are their only houses, are covered 
with mats or skins. 'Vhv, C'anadians, who may 
be considered as the classical nomenclators of 
these; countries, call them lodges. They are 
elliptical. Kach of them generally contains a 
family, sometimes two, with or without tlieir 
relations; they slee|) in a circle upon skins, 
mats, or dried grass. The fire is made in the 
centre, as among the ancients, wlio gave the 
name of bnagbica; to the pictures and 
statues placed in the room containing the fire, 
from their ])eing blackened by the smoke. In 
the Indian huts the smoke passes through the 
round opening in the centre of the roof, the 
foramina vd oculi, by whicti the light was ad- 




FUHNiri' WK. 

I i 

mittod into the toinples and liouscs ol' the 

A co|)|)cr or tin boiler which they get in ex- 
change from the traders, often supported only 
by a wooden fork, stuck in the ground, pieces of 
wood hollowed into spoons, bits of the bark 
of trees formed into |)lates and dishes, the horns 
of butfalos or otluu' animals cut into cups, con- 
stitute the whole of their Ixittcric dc cidsim', their 
plate, and their table service. A stake supplies 
the place of a spit, their fingers serve for forks, 
the earth for a table, and a skin or the beau- 
tiful carpet of nature for their table-cloth. 

They all sit indiscriminately around the food 
with which Providence and their guns supply 
them. Neither kings, ministers, nor courtiers 
are treated with any distinction. 

In this perfect republic, equality is not less 
the ]nivilege of animals than men. The dogs, 
although i//('ij;itifn(it(' and descended from wolves, 
arc seated at the same table with the savages, 
and at the same (lirau ; they partake of the same 
dishes and sleep on the same beds. I have 
seen young bears and otters treated as a part of 
the community. 

The faces of the Saukis, although exhibiting 
features characteristic of their savage state, 
are not disagreeable; and they are rather well 






made than otlicrwisc. Their si/o and structure, 
which are of tlic middle kind, indicate neither 
pecuUar strength nor weakness. 'I'heir heads 
arc ratlier smedl; tliat part called by French 
anatomists vonte orhitahr, has in general no hair 
except a small tuft upon the pineal gland, like 
that of the Turks; this gives the forehead an 
appearance of great elevation. Their eyes are 
small, and their eye-brows thin; the cornea ap- 
proaches rather to yellow, the |)upil to red; they 
are the link between those of the Orang-outang 
and ours. Their ears are sufHcicntly large to 
bear all the jewels, &c. with which they are 
adorned : two foxes' tails dangled from those of 
the Great Eagle. J have seen others to which 
were hung bells, heads of birds and dozens of 
buckles, which penetrated the whole cartilagi- 
nous part from top to bottom. Their noses are 
large and flat, like those of the nations of eastern 
Asia ; their nostrils are pierced and ornamented 
like their ears. The maxillary bones, or pojn- 
indte.s, are very prominent. The under jaw 
extends outwards on both sides. Their mouths 
are rather large, their teeth close set, and of 
the finest enamel; their lips a little inverted. 
Their necks are regularly formed : they have 
large bellies and narrow chests, so that their 
bodies are generally larger below than above. 
Their feet and hands are well proportioned ; 




1 ' 

their arms are slender : this may be attributed to 
want of exercise, which checks the development 
of the muscles; the only part of the body which 
savages inure to fatigue is the legs, which are 
therefore more robust than the rest of their 
frame. Their complexion is copper-coloured, 
whence they call themselves the red people, as a 
distinction both from whites and blacks. Ex- 
cept the tuft in the head, which we have already 
rer^arked, they have no hair on any part of the 
body. Books, which deal greatly in the mar- 
vellous, convert this into an extraordinary phe- 
nomenon ; but the fact is that, from a supersti- 
tion common to all savages, they pluck it out, 
and as they begin at an early age and use the 
most persevering means for its extirpation, 
nothing is left but a soft down. 

You know that many of our drivers and 
coachmen believe that the manes of their 
horses are haunted by devils who make their 
nests in them, and that they employ conjura- 
tions to drive them away : the Indians, w ho 
have the same creed on this point and have 
neither saints nor holy wate) wherewith to exor- 
cise them, prevent the effect by tearing up the 
cause by the roots. The Greeks and Romans had 
similar superstitions, and the Egyptian kings, 
like others, carefully infused them into the minds 
of the people the better to enslave them. 

:; }' 



You would be astonished, my dear Madam, 
at the striking coincidences between the cha- 
racter and habits of the Indians and those of 
the ancient and modern people of the old world, 
though their country was entirely unknown to 
the lurmer, and very imperfectly to the latter. 

Notwithstanding the continuance of the cold 
weather, the men had nothing but a single co- 
vering of wool or skin, which serves them by 
day and by night. They throw it about them 
with extraordinary grace and dexterity, as the 
Romans did their palliin?!. Their coverings for 
the feet and legs, which they call mokamis, are 
made of the skin of the roe-buck, buffalo, or 
elk, and are precisely like the perones, cotJiurni, 
mulei and cakei of the Greeks and Romans ; 
but in summer they generally go barefoot. In 
winter they wear a kind of skin or cloth gaiters, 
like those of the Cimbri in the time of Marius, 
which they call mytas. They wear a covering 
round the loins; all the rest of the body, 
even the head, is naked, whether it rains, hails, 
or freezes, or the earth is parched with the 
burning heat of the dog-days. 

Their offensive weapons are the bow, the 
arrow, the pike, the lance, as among the an- 
cients; the axe, the club, the dagger, as amo g 
the combatants of the middle ages ; the casse-tete. 


*'■■ { 



the tomahawk, as used by the Tartars of Tamer- 
lane; and the gun used by modern nations. 

The shichl is tlieir only defensive weapon. It 
is precisely like that of the early Romans, of 
leather, round like the c/i/pcK.s, or o\ al like the 
scutum ; but the most singular instance of resem- 
blance is that they paint it as the Romans did, 
and, like them, trace the origin of tlieir armo- 
rial bearings from it; they have already begun 
to paint upon their tents and elsewhere, — as 
we do upon the doors or walls of our mansions, 
— those glorious hieroglyphics formerly painted 
only upon shields. I have one in my possession 
which is ornamented with plumes, and bears 
the head of the JMan'itou or peculiar god of the 
hero fi'om whom I received it. It is the head of 
a wild duck, by means of which he expected 
perhaps to petrify his enemies, as Perseus did 
with the head of Medusa. 

The ephod, from the Hebrew word apliael, 
which signifies to dress, was a kind of short 
tunic with large sleeves. Ttwas first confined to 
the Jewish high priest, who could not perform 
his sacerdotal functions without it ; and was 
afterwards in a manner profaned by David, who 
had the presumption to wear it; after him it 
was irreverently worn by the whole family of 
Gideon ; and when this nation addicted itself to 




1. It 

IS, of 

:e the 


s did, 



e,— as 




I bears 

I of the 

load of 
lis did 

f short 
fined to 
nd was 
lid, who 
him it 
imily of 
htself to 

idolatry, it became a part of the fashionable 
dress of every woman of rank. It passed from 
Asia to Greece, thence to Rome, and lastly to 
these savage countries ; for tiie species of short 
tunic with large sleeves v/hich comes down to 
the girdle of the female Saukis, is precisely like 
the ep/iod : plates of white metal, fixed upon 
the part which covers the breast, seem an imita- 
tion oHheJibu/fC of the ancients. By their round- 
ness they appear to be an emblem of the sun, 
which the Peruvians also wore upon their breasts. 
A petticoat, fitting close to the body, descends 
to the bottom of the knees, and their legs are 
covered with a kind of gaiters, resembling those 
of the ancient Scythian women. The covering 
for the feet and legs is distinguished from that 
of the men only by its elegance : in summer, 
however, their feet and legs are always unco- 
vered. During the period of youth their forms 
are attractive, but these flowers soon fade : the 
evening succeeds to the morning without the 
interval of noon ; for these poor women are the 
porters, the beasts of burden of the men, who, 
they say, would lose all dignity and become as 
vile, abject, and despicable, as the whites, if they 
condescended to submit to any other occupa- 
tions than those of hunting and war. There is no 
slavery more abject than that of the Indian wo- 
men. They are looked upon with such contempt, 

vol.. II. L 



>« « V 

that till' greatest insult to an Indian is to say 
to him "(io, yon are a si/uaiv y^n woman.)" [t 
iVe(|uently Ir.'ppens that these victims of the 
instinctive tyranny of man liavc such a lionor 
of the fate of their sex, that they destroy their 
(laughters at their birth, to save them from the 
wretched, miserable life which awaits them. 

They have very luxuriant hair which they tie 
into what some |)eo|)le call cato^ai/.s, like the 
carters and pois.san/.s of the south of I'^ance. I'heir 
heads, like those of the men, are uncovered, and, 
like them, they wear a covering for the body, 
consisting of a piece of coarse blue or red cloth. 
This is a recent fashion. 

The men and women daub their faces with 
red, yellow, white, or blue. When they are in 
mourning they paint the whole face, and even 
the body, black, during a year ; the second year 
they paint only half; and, at last, merely streak 
themselves with it in various patterns. Both 
men and women wear ornaments on the neck 
and arms : some wear what we call marina- 
rit'uicn, that is to say, small glass beads, or 
composition trinkets, which the traders sell 
them in exchange; others, the teeth or claws of 
wild beasts : — here, you will admit, is some- 
thing of every age — the most antique, the an- 
cient, the middle ages, the modern, and the 
very modern. 

IMiIVS «ciM|.:,\, 



l^noch lolls „.s ,|,„|, l,d„,.e llu. .I.lnj,.., ,|,e 
auKvl Azalid tauf.|,( y,.,,,,. w„„,en tlu- art „r 
l«""t,n«- Ihcir persons, jsaiiil, alln.ks t„ the 
sa.Mo lact m ,cs,,cct to those of Si,,,, ; „,e Ccck 
a>" Ho,„a„ w,„„™ Lonowcd it Ih,,,, the Asiaties 
""<'■' "ve„al ,e|„ose„ls the eHcn.inato ,„-iests of 
Athens as |,ai„t<:,l with white an<l ,vd. .\,„l„ose 
cxclanns loudly against the vanity oChis c„sto,n ; 
the la,„ous n,„„k IliUlcbrand, ((Jiegoiv VII ) 
'"MH.tes this vice with ,„any othe,s to he won.e'n 
<' IMS t,„,e, the n,o,e highly to exalt the virtues 
A at.da, who gave hi,,, p,.e,ty substantial 
Hoofs of he. g,at.tude. Uefore the tin,e ori>eter 
ho Great, the Museovites sfiped thei,- faces 
with all sorts ol eolours: even in our tin,e, this i, 
praeused by n.any of the nations of Asia; and 
our ladies, and even ou,' ,/„W«,, seldon, blow 
t u.r noses without leaving some of their eon,- 
P «,oM upon their handke,-el,iefc. It is not a 
mic singula,- that antin,ony is an ingredient in 
the most ancient ro>,.rc, as well as of that which 
the ndians rega.d as the pa,nt *,.•„«,/ ;.„,,^, 
Ihat the female savages should wear neck- 
laces, l.kethe Greeks and Romans, is notextra- 
ord,„ary, for they are worn everywhere;" but 
what does surprise one is, that like the women 
of antiquity they ofTer them to the departed 
spints of their relations, of which I have been 
an eye-witness. 


• u.uauw«a>w> 



The custom of wearing necklaces, prevalent 
among the men, reminds us of that of the 
Egyptians ; it is still more singular, that their 
bracelets are precisely like the armillce of the 
Romans, and that they wear them on the upper 
part of the arm, as they did. 

I saw one of these tribes break up their tents 
to go in quest of a new domicile, or forest. In 
half an hour everything was ready for their 

The lustres, wardrobe, sideboard, equipage, 
plate, kitchen utensils, &c. occupied the centre 
of the canoe ; the house, that is to say, the mats 
and skins for the tent, served to cover them ; 
the children, the dogs, the bears, &c. were 
placed opposite ; the men on either side ; and 
the women, at the two extremities, exercised 
the functions of pilots and sailors : sometimes, 
however, the men row too. 

Their vessel is the hollowed trunk of a tree, 
and the oars resemble those of our ancestors, — • 
such as artists put into the hands of painted or 
sculptured deities of rivers. The ease with 
which they manage these libuniictB is astonish- 
ing ; and considering how narrow they are, how 
unsteady on the water, and how heavily they 
are laden, it is surprising that they so seldom 

On the evening of the 6th we set out from 

of the 
it their 
of the 
3 upper 

ir tents 
St. In 
r their 

tie mats 
them ; 
;. were 
ie ; and 

a tree, 
stors, — • 
nted or 
»e with 
re, how 
ily they 


ut from 



Fort Edward, where we were treated by the 
officers with much politeness ; we soon returned 
however, for the steam-boat, being too heavily 
laden, was unable to make a very difficult and 
dangerous passage at a place called the Middle 
of the Rapids of the Moine, nine miles above the 
Fort. By great good luck we escaped from a 
rock which might have dashed our steam-boat 
to pieces ; it was only slightly damaged. 

On the 7th, while the steam-boat was getting 
ready, T made a little shooting excursion. I 
killed a monstrous serpent, almost entirely 
black, spotted with yellow ; it is called by the 
Indians piacoiba (i. e. terrible animal.) They 
dread it more than the rattle-snake, though 
Its bite is not so dangerous, because it glides 
silently and insidiously among the briars and 
grass, and its attacks are unexpected; whereas, 
the other gives notice of its approach by the sound 
of that subp .ance with which nature has provi- 
dentially furnished its tail, that man may have 
time to escape its pursuit. I have preserved its 
skin, because I do not recollect to have seen one 
like it in the museums I have visited, either in 
this world or our own. 

The Indians, at the sight of my prize, wel- 
comed me as if I had been a beneficent Manitou. 
Their nakedness and their wandering life ren- 
der wamenduska (reptiles) objects of great terror 


''"*!!.' '•'« ?" 

m ixiii 









t i 

» V' 


1 .f 



to I hem. iiiul yet no oiu' tliuvs kill ihciu, loi 
I hoy believe tJKit they ;ire nitilevoleiit spirits, 
wlio won III visit their Ihniilies nnd camps with 
every kind of niislortune it' they attcnij)ted to 
destroy theni. 

The next day we ascended, thouu:h not with- 
out difficnity, thes(> rapids, which continue lor 
the space of twenty-one miles, when we saw 
anotluM- eneanjpment of Saukis uj>on the (>astern 

Nine miles hiij^lior, on the western bank, are 
the rnins of the old Fort iNhubson. 

The president of that name had established an 
ci/frcpof of the most necessary articles lor the 
Indians, lo be exchanged lor their peltry. The 
object ol' the government was not spiTulation, 
but, by its example, to li\ reasonable prices 
amono- the traders; lor, in the United States, 
everybody tratiics cjrcpt the government. Kear- 
in^-, liowever, the effect ol" any restraint on 
the trade of private individuals, it has with- 
drawn its factories and agents, and left the 
field open to the South West Company, wluch 
has been joined by a rival company, and 
now monopolizes the commerce of almost the 
whole savage region of the valleys of the Mis- 
sissippi and the Missouri. Its two ]>rincipal 
centres of o])erations are St Louis and Michili- 
nv.ikinac, on lake Huron. 

Y A now A HI VI. II 



At a short distance Ironi this fort, on tl 

»c sanu! 

sido, is the river of the liHc l^nanlc, and farthe 
on, that of the Vahowas, so caUed from the name 
of the sava^rc tribes which inhabited its banks. 
It is nin(>ty-seven miles from Fort Kdward, and 
three hundred from St Louis. 

The fields were ben^innin^r to resume; their 
verdure; the meadows, nrroves, and forests w(>re 
rcvivinjr at the return of sprin<(. Never had I 
Keen nature more l)cautiful, more mnjestic, than 
111 this vast domain of silence and solitude. 
Never did the war})linjr of t|ie birds so expres- 
sively declare the renewal of their innocent 
loves. Every object was as new to my imagi- 
nation as to my eye. 

All around me breathed that melancholy, 
which, by turns sweet and bitter, exercises so 
powerful an influence over minds endowed with 
sensibility. TTow ardently, how often, did r \m^ 
to be alone ! 

Wooded islands, disposed in beautiful order 
by the hand of nature, continually varied the 
picture : the course of the river, which had 
become calm and smooth, reflected the daz- 
vWwr rays of the sun like <rlnss ; smiling hills 
formed a delightful contrast with the immense 
prairies, which are like oceans, and the mo- 
notony of which is relieved ])y isolated clusters 
of thick and massy trees. These enchanting 
scenes lasted from the river V aliowa till vve 


^i i' 





ivacluul a plat'o vvliicli pivsciits a distanl and 
cx(juisitoly hUMidrd viow of what, is calU'd 
KtK'ky Island, {\\vcv lumdivd and srviMity-two 
niiU's iVoni St l.onis, antl one l»nndird and sixty 
IVoin l*\)it I'iduard. I'ort Aiinstron}:^, at tliis spot, 
is constiiu'lod upon a plateau, at an elevation of 
abouttifty I'eet above the level of the river, and ri'- 
warils the spectator who ascends it with the most 
nia^ieal variety of scenery. It takes its nanu^ 
iVoni iMr Arnistroni;", wht) was secretary at war 
at the time of its construction. 

The eastern bank at ilio mouth of llocky Kiver 
w as lined w ith an encampment of Indians, calleil 
b\)xcs. Their featinvs, dress, wea|)ons, customs, 
an<l lant;uai;e, are similar to those of the Saukis, 
whose allies thoy are, in peace and war. On the 
\vcslorn shore of the Mississippi, a semicircular 
hill, cU)thed with trees and underwood, encloses 
a I'ertilc sj)ot carefully cultivated by the gar- 
rison, and formed into tields and kitchen gardens. 
The tort saluted us on our arrival with four 
disr'rarges of cannon, and the Indians paid us 
the same compliment with their muskets. The 
echo, which repeated them a thousand times, 
was most striking from its contrast with the 
deep repose of these deserts. 

^^ e arrived on the 1 0th, about noon. After 
dinner I visited the Saukis, three miles to the 
I ast , on the north bank of the Rocky River. Here 
they had formed their most extensive encamp- 




nu'iil, (hr only oik- tlicy constantly inhabit 
(liirinij: ihv- ^umiuv.r inontlis. 

In lliis villajj^r, if I may call it so, I witnessed, 
lor the first time, the dexterity with which the 
Indians handle their hows. Children, nine or ten 
yi!ars of a^^e, hit a small piece of money of ;;ix 
sons, which I had fixed np for tiiem to aim at, 
ut a distance of twenty-five paces,-- oCtc^n at tiu^ 
second trial. At last I was obii^rcf} to removes 
it lo thirty-live, or they woidd soon have ex- 
hausted tiie little purse I had filled for this visit. 
'I'he chiefs offered us a slight refreshment; it 
(consisted of bear's Hesh dried in the smoke;, 
which I tliought more delicious than our liams, 
and of roots, resembling chicory, but less l)itter 
and very highly flavoured : they call them po- 
le utota. 

They had comt)leted their toilet, so that their 
faces exhibited every variety of colour. Some, 
by the hieroglyphics painted on their bodies, 
reminded me of the mysteries of the ancient 
l^^gyptian priests. Those who favoured us with 
the dan'jc called the Medicine Dance, or Wakaw 
W(t{(), hi>d their bodies covered with them. 

As the only people the Indians ever heard of 
are the French, English, Spaniards, and Ame- 
ricans, and as their conception of the world is 
confined to those nations, the Saukis were much 
astonished when I told them that f did not 



'. \ 




. ^^i 


belong to any one of them. I made them 
believe that I came from the moon : their as- 
tonishment was then converted into veneration ; 
for they adore this planet as a beneficent deity, 
w^hose rays enable them to hunt, fish, and 
travel, during the night. Whatever is useful 
seems to be an object of worship in every part 
of the world. 

This medicine dance is the offspring of political 
knavery and superstitious folly and credulity. 
It has some analogy with the mysteries of 
Eleusis, and with others which turn the brains 
of some of the moderns. The initiated are en- 
closed within a parallelogram, formed by a small 
barricade covered with skins : the profane may 
witness the ceremony, but at a distance. 

As I wished to know the whole secret, I deter- 
mined to try the result of a clandestine en- 
trance ; accordingly, I glided into the enclosure, 
but was turned out, although a son or inhabitant 
of the moon. A sort of president, whose head 
is adorned with plumes and with the horns of 
a buffalo, the points of which are turned inwards 
like those on the mitre of Aaron and Melchise- 
deck, takes his station, surrounded by a band 
of musicians, east of the enclosure. At the west, 
two warriors, armed with bows and arrows, 
guard the entrance. A master of the ceremonies, 
with a club in his hand, stands in the centre, and 

mJ':dicink dance. 



receives the orders of the president. The elect, 
male and female, (for some were of the latter 
sex,) are seated on the north and south, accord- 
ing to his or her seniority or respective rank. 

An orator, (for there must be one everywhere,) 
placed at some distance on the left of the presi- 
dent, every now and then raised his eyebrows, 
as if under the influence of celestial inspiration, 
and shewed by every movement of his agitated 
body his impatience to speak,— perhaps to hear 
the delightful sound of bravo or e?icore. As 
they have no written language, there is no 
secretary ; this is a great defect : in any other 
country, a session without a proves verbal would 
be absolutely null and void. 

I cannot tell what the president said in his 
opening speech, for nobody could understand 
him, not even, I think, his neophytes ; but the 
orator, who almost immediately addressed the 
assembly, must unquestionably have spoken 
well, for he equalled in eloquent emphasis 
the greatest orators of Greece or Rome. The 
vehemence and animation of the oratory of 
savages excite astonishment, when contrasted 
with their taciturnity and apathy in the common 
transactions of life. Sometimes the inspiration 
is so powerful, that they tremble in every limb, 
like the Shakers. I could neither understand 






nor guess the meaning of his speech ; but I 
conclude that with these superstitious people , as 
with many others, fanaticism holds the place of 
reason, and blindness, of belief. 

On a signal given by the president, the musi- 
cians then played upon their horns and drums ; 
the latter, beaten with a stick covered with 
leather, produce a very touching sound ; but the 
iietiioe and ululatus to which they beat time, were 
torturing to the ears, and truly terrific. 

At this beautiful music, the president, the 
door-keepers, the orator, t'ue male and female 
elect, form a circle ; and the master of the cere- 
monies, from the centre, directs the necessary 
formalities. Each carries in his right hand the 
skin of an otter, beaver, or some other favourite 
animal, made in the form of a bag, open at the 
two ends; and at the moment the president 
raises his in the air, the great ( ^remony begins. 

The president, making frightful contortions, 
and fervently stammering out a few ejaculatory 
prayers, first blows into one end of his bag, the 
other end of which is turned towards his right- 
hand neighbour. At this instant, the latter 
suddenly falls to the ground ; no matter in what 
direction, or whether he break his neck or not, 
for he is considered dead. 

He is only restored to life by degrees, and in 



proportion as his exorcist — the same person by 
whose influence he fell— pronounces ftome expi- 
atory formulee, which operate upon him like 
galvanism : the resuscitated person is vhen com- 
pletely purified ab omni macula. Although he 
retains the same body, the bag and the ceremony 
have given him a new soul : a doctrine quite 
contrary to that of the meteuipsic hosts, which 
transfuses an old soul into a new body ; it is 
also opposed to the creed of the savages of 
several nations, who seem to hold the Pythago- 
rean hypothesis about death. 

If I may presume to give my opinion on this 
farce, I think the medicine dance is only a spiritual 
medicine, given in this transitory life to prepare 
the soul for a more successful aspiration to a 
celestial and eternal one. 

The president and his neighbours, and the 
other persons of the mystic chain, become 
successively active and passive, until the presi- 
dent himself falls, dies, and is restored to life in 
his turn ; he then closes the dance by declaring 
that la seance est levee. 

I expected that my philharmonical friends 
and the master of the ceremonies would have 
acted the same part; but either they have 
some other mode of purification, or they purify 
themselves by sympathy, like bodies attracted 
by the force of electricity. 



mi: Die INK DAN'CI 




■ ; 

Would that I were a })ainter ! lint then per- 
haps my ()])servatioiis would have been superfi- 
cial. Let jicople say what they })lease, l*angloss 
is a L^reat man ; everything is certainly for the 
best. There is only one exception .... with 
that you are acquainted, my dear Countess. 

In the midst of this laughable scene, I suffered 
much from not being allowed to laugh. My in- 
terpreter, who saw what I endured Irom the 
violence I did to my inclination, intimated to me 
that its indulgence might condemn me to an auto 
(lafe. One of the actors threw himself into such 
violent contortions, that he tore his face ; perhaps 
to serve as a proces verbal (in default of secretary) 
of the session, till a renewal of the ceremonies. 

I have been told that no one can obtain admis- 
sion into this fraternity without the requisite 
qualities, of which that of a fortunate dreamer is 
the most meritorious. Our lottery gamblers, 
and dealers in political systems, might become 
successful candidates. 

I have also been told that those who propose 
themselves for admission make large offerings, 
and that they are sometimes obliged to give all 
they possess to the order. Religious systems 
are to be found at all times, and in all places ; 
but it appears that the salvation of the soul must 
be paid for under all ; — in modern as well as in 
ancient times, in the new world and in the old, 




{mionjif savi 


among civilized nations. I 
was told, and 1 believe it, that in this camp, and 
in others where they are stationary during part 
of the year, there are houses in which young irirls 
are appointed to watch over a fire which burns 
in the centre ; like the Roman and Peruvian ves- 
tals, the guardians of the Prytaneum at Athens, 
and the Guebres. It appears that they conse- 
crate it to the sun, or consider it as the emblem 
of that life-giving luminary. 

A bag of such miraculous properties as the 
nicdidnc hag, deserved all my attention ; 1 there- 
fore exerted every effort to obtain one. Vain, 
however, would have been the veneration I ex- 
pressed for the prodigies it performed, had I not 
made a present of good whiskey both to the 
person who gave it me, and to the high-priest, 
as a bribe for his sanction. This was the first 
convincing proof 1 saw of the resistless, and, 
as you will soon perceive, fatal allurement of 
spirituous Jiquors to the savages. 

The next day we quitted Rocky Island, where 
the gentlemen of the garrison were as polite to 
us as those of Fort Edward. 

The rapids above this island, which is three 
miles in length from north to south, are stronger 
and extend farther than those of the Moine ; 
and had not Providence come to our aid and 






swelled the waters of the river for two days, the 
stcam-l)oat would ])erlia|)s have remained nailed 
to the rock upon which it had already struck. 

Whilst the captain allowed some repose to the 
crew, who were exhausted with fatij^ue, 1 paid 
a visit to the forests as usual. It was {j^enerally 
thouu^ht that I should turn savaj^e, and the cap- 
tain, as you have seen, had done his best to convert 
it into a icality : but this time I acted witli more 

Chance almost inmiediately thrr w a rattle- 
snake in my way. At first it fled froi ae ; it then 
stopped, and was in the act of looking at me, 
when I shot it through the head. 1 have pre- 
served its skin. It is almost five feet in lenj^th, 
and has six rows of rattles, which indicate its age 
by the same number of years. Although the head 
is crushed, the organization of the mouth is still 
visible : it inflicts the mortal wound with a 
tooth, which it uses as a cat does its claws. It 
dips it in the poison by passing it, at the moment 
it bites, across the vesicle which contains the 

At the distance of six miles from the rapids, 
we met with another tribe of Foxes encamped 
on the western bank. Higher up, after passing 
the rivers Ift Pomme and la Garde, which run 
westward, we saw a place called the Death's- 

, the 



1 cap- 
I move 

it then 
at me, 
ve pre- 
3 its a«;e 
ic head 
is still 
with a 
,vs. It 
ins the 

ich run 



heads; a field of battU' where the Foxes de- 
feated tlie Kikassias, whose heads they fixed 
upon poles as trophies of tlieir victory. We 
stopped at tlie entrance of the river la Fiivrv, 
a name in perfect conformity with the effect of 
the bad air which prevails tiiere. It flows from 
the east, and is navigable for about one hunched 

At seven miles from its mouth the Indians 
formerly collected lead, which they found in 
abundance scattered over the surface of the earth. 
They converted it to no other use than that of 
making bullets, as they wanted them. The 
government, which never loses sight of its inte- 
rests when opportunity offers, purchased, or 
rather obliged the Foxes to sell, these lands, 
consisting of fifteen square miles ; it has thus 
secured to itscFf the lich mines, which it has 
granted out to adventurers, who pay the tenth 
of the net produce of the lead. Tt has established 
an agent there to watch over its rights. 

A whole family from the interior of Kentucky 
have come to establish themselves at a distance 
of thirteen or fourteen hundred miles from their 
home. They were in the steam-boat, with their 
arms and baggage, cats and dogs, hens and tur- 
keys ; the children too had their own stock. The 
facility, the indifference with which the Ameri- 
cans undertake distant and difficult emigrations, 


f ^'i 


are perfectly amazing. Their spirit of specula- 
tion would carry them to the infernal regions, 
if another Sybil led the way with a golden 

A cross-road soon brought me to the mines. 
The rocks are almost one mass of lead, and the 
ore produces from seventy -five to eighty per 
cent. The site is a perfect Thebais. I congra- 
tulated this good family upon the prosperity 
they seemed to anticipate ; and I wished Mrs 
R . . . . much more success in her intended 
biblical missions among the savages than she had 
met with in the steam-boat. A young man had 
turned into utter ridicule both her and her 
attempt to convert him. She was one of those 
good women who devote themselves to God 
when they have lost all hope of pleasing men, 
and whose fervour, like that of almost all bigots, 
is mysticism. I must detain you one instant 
longer at these mmes, to describe to you, as I 
heard it, one of the most remarkable phenomena 
of nature. 

A rattle-snake was killed there with a hun- 
dred and forty young ones in its belly, several of 
which contained other young ones, Majo" An- 
derson, agent of the mines and a man of unim- 
peachable veracity, told me this as a positive 
fact, of which he had been an eye-witness. I 
was also informed by some of the traders that 
this was not the first instance of the kind. 


."MINES or DLlil'QUES. 



and the 
hty per 
tied Mrs 
n she had 

man had 

and her 

of those 
to God 

sing men, 
jail bigots, 
|ne instant 

you, as I 


lith a hun- 
scveral of 

Majo" An- 

Ilu of unim- 
a positive 
witness. I 

[raders that 


Twelve miles liigher, upon the v^restern bank 
of the Mississippi, are otiier lead mines, called 
the mines of Dubuques. 

A Canadian of that name was the friend of a 
tribe of the Foxes, who have a kind of village 
here. In 1788, these Indians granted him per- 
mission to work the mines. His establishment 
flourished ; but the fatal sisters cut the thread 
of his days and of his fortune. 

He had no children. Tlie attachment of the 
Indians was confined to him; and, to get rid as 
soon as possible of the importunities of those who 
wanted to succeed him, they burnt his furnaces, 
warehouses, and dwelling-house ; and by this 
energetic measure, expressed the determination 
of the red people to have no other whites among 
them than such as they liked. 

The relations and creditors of Dubuques ap- 
pealed to the congress of the United States to 
secure to themselves the adjudication of the 
property of these mines. It is said, that their 
claim was founded upon a treaty of cession or 
acquisition between Dubuques and the Indians ; 
that this treaty ha«^ V)een sanctioned by an act of 
the baron de Carondelet, the Spanish governor 
of Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, — and that 
general Harri'^on had confirmed it when he took 
possession of it for the United States, in 1804 : 
but the congress decided in favour of the Indians. 




'i 1 

I ■ ^' 1 i 




What belongs to the Indians does, in fact, belong 
to the United States ; and it is not usual to give 
judgment against our own interests. Augustus 
refused to decide in a case in which he would 
have been both party and judge, and lost his 
cause. So liberal a government as the United 
States should have imitated his exi^mple. 

The Indians si ill keep exclusive possession of 
these mines, and with such jealousy, that I 
was obliged to have recourse to the all-powerful 
whiskey to obtain permission to see them. 

They melt the lead into holes which they dig 
in the rock, to reduce it into pigs. They ex- 
change it with the traders for articles of the 
greatest necessity ; but they carry it themselves 
to the other side of the river, which they will not 
suffer them to pass. Notwithstanding these pre- 
cautions, the mines are so valuable, and the 
Americans so enterprising, that I much question 
whether the Indians will long retain possession 
of them. 

Dubuques reposes, with royal state, in a 
leaden chest contained in a mausoleum of wood, 
which the Indians erected to him upon the sum- 
mit of a small hill that overlooks their camps 
and commands the river. 

This man was become their idol, because he 
possessed, or pretended to possess, an antidote to 
the bite of the rattle-snake. Nothing but artifice 





and delusion can render the red people friendly 
to the whites ; for, both from instinct, and 
from feelings transmitted from father to son, they 
cordially despise and hate them. 

A very respectable gentleman, a friend of 
Dubuques, attempted to persuade me that this 
jnogler was in the habit of taking rattle-snakes 
into his hands, and that by speaking to them 
authoritatively, in a language which they iiuiler- 
stood, he could tame them and render them as 
gentle as doves. I merely observed that I be- 
lieved what he asserted, because he said he had 
seen it ; but that if I saw it with my own eyes 
I should not believe it. 

These people, proud as they are of their inde- 
pendence, are so inclined to superstition (the 
inseparable companion of implicit subjection) 
that they would become the most abject slaves, 
if they were civilized after the fashion of the 
Jesuits. In fact, these reverend fathers had 
rendered the Indians of la Plata so subservient 
to their will, that they induced them to revolt 
against Icgiiimacjj. Whenever this mystical body 
of men present themselves to my thoughts, even 
in these wild regions, I cannot help lamenting 
the blindness and false policy which are endea- 
vouring to re-establish their domination over the 

To form a correct opinion of what has been. 


rilK .IKSl lis. 


' -: ! 

it would 1)0 sutHcicut to recollect what iill tiiu 
potentates of Chri.stendoni, and an enlightened 
pope, unanimously declared against them ; and 
what had been said at an earlier period by Urban 
VI II, when, in 1030, he suppressed the scan- 
dalous order of the Jesuitesses : but the know- 
ledge that the Loyolists were the mortal ene- 
mies of all other religious bodies, only because 
they were more religious than themselves, and 
o})posed the universal despotism which it was 
their policy to organize over consciences and 
over empires; — this knowledge might surely 
convince the most obstinate and fanatical per- 
sons of the nature and purpose of the zeal which 
influences these gentlemen. 

I neither am, nor can be, the personal enemy 
of the Jesuits; for I was not in being when they 
were expelled from the whole Catholic world ; 
but as I am the friend of public tranquillity and of 
religion, I cannot be theirs. While they professed 
poverty and humility and called themselves the 
cowpauii of Jesus, they insinuated themselves 
into courts, and encouraged every vice that pre- 
vailed in them ; perhaps for the very purpose of 
bringing them into contempt, and thus promoting 
the accomplishment of their ambitious views ; 
they have been one of the grand causes of every 
revolution which has convulsed society, and have 
vitally wounded religion by the scandal they 

^ A 



have occasioned, and by tlieir ettorts to secure 
to themselves the monopoly both of commerce 
and of faith. 

" The morality of Jesus Christ," says a holy 
father of tlie church, " is pure and severe, but 
sim|)le and popular; it is not propounded as 
a deep and exclusive science : he reduces it to 
maxims, adapts it to the comprehension of the 
most ignorant, and confirms it by his example. 
Mildandcondcscendino, indulgent, merciful, cha- 
ritable, the friend of the poor and the oppressed ; 
he affects neither the pomp of eloquence, nor 
the rigour of asceticism ; neither austere manners, 
nor a reserved, mysterious deportment. He 
promises peace and happiness to those who will 
practise his precepts, but he does not pretend to 
compel them. The faith he requires is rational 
and free ; he has no object but the glory of God, 
his father, the sanctification of man, the salvation 
and the final happiness of the world. He is poor 
and humble, and his kingdom is not of this 
world." Let any one decide how far the morality 
of the Jesuits accords with this. 

It is urged that they are necessary to the 
world, in its present state of corruption. It M^as 
not, however, by the ministry of obstinate, in- 
tolerant, ambitious men, that Jesus Christ un- 
dertook to reform mankind : the choice of his 
apostles shews the contrary. Such men, where- 



i ■ si? 


4; If J 

' i 

*} . 



ever they have any infiuence over kings or na- 
tions, are calculated only to plunge the world 
still more deeply into disorder and misery; and 
which accounts for the English re-establishing 
the Jesuits on the continent. 

My pen was struck motionless during about 
forty miles ; nor amidst the variety of objects 
that every moment solicited my attention and 
excited my astonishment, could I determine 
where to fix my choice : at length a place which 
might very appropriately be called Lougiic Vue, 
decided me at once. Twelve small isolated 
mountains present themselves in defile, and 
project one behind another, like side-scenes. 
They are intersected by small valleys ; each has 
its rivulet, which divides it, and reflects from its 
limpid streams the beauty of the trees by which 
its banks are adorned. These hills exhibit a 
mixture of the gloomy and the gay, while those 
which appear at the back of the scene are 
veiled with magical effect in the transparent 
mist of the horizon. On the eastern bank a 
verdant meadow rises with gentle slope to a 
distant prospect, formed and bounded by a small 
chain of abrupt mountains. Little islands, studded 
with clumps of trees, among which the steam- 
boat was winding its course, appeared like the 
most enchanting gardens. It would be difficult 
anywhere to find a picture in which the pleasing 

r I. 

fc^- ~A 



and the romantic predominate with such delight- 
ful alternation, and such perfect harmony. One 
would think that it had been designed by art 
aided by the resources of nature, or by nature 
aided by the devices of art. 

A little above the river Turkey, which flows 
from the west, and is navigable to a considerable 
distance inland, is an old village which the 
Foxes have deserted. Here terminates the pre- 
tended territorial jurisdiction of these savages ; 
I say pretended, for savages hunt wherever they 
find no obstacle ; which is sometimes the cause 
of, or at least the pretext for, the bloody wars 
by which they are continually destroying each 

The true name of these savages is Outhagamis. 
That of Foxes (Renards) is a nick-name, given 
them by the first Frenchmen who discovered 
these countries : it was probably significant of 
their resemblance to these animals ; and indeed 
they are no blockheads. Their number is much 
diminished. It scarcely amounts to more than 
sixteen hundred, who, like the Saukis, are dis- 
tributed into four tribes. 

The Owisconsin is a large river, which flows 
from the east. At three hundred miles from 
its mouth it communicates, by means of a 
portage, with the Foxes' river, which falls into 
Green bay, in lake Michigan. This river is 





;.i -^ 

therefore the principal channel of the fur trade 
carried on by all these savage countries, by way 
of Michilimakinak and the lakes, with Canada 
and New York ; of which the village of the 
Prairie du Chien, at the distance of six miles 
higher on the same eastern bank, is a consider- 
able e fit repot. 

After passing through a space of about six 
hundred and seventy miles of desert, this village 
comes upon one as by enchantment, and the 
contrast is the more striking as it bespeaks a 
certain degree of civilization ; French is the 
prevailing language, and strangers are well 
received. It takes its name from an Indian 
family whom the first Frenchmen met there, 
called Kigigad, or dog, for almost all the savages 
are distinguished by the name of some animal, 
which is often their peculiar Manitou. 

The Americans ought to regard this village as 
one of the most interesting scenes of the last war 
against the English. This is the only place 
where the Anglo-savage army observed the 
terms of a capitulation during that war. 

The American garrison, which general Clark 
had placed there in a wretched wooden fort, 
named fort Crawford, in order to neutralize as 
much as possible the influence and intrigues by 
which the English emissaries in these forests en- 
deavoured to encrease the number of the allies of 

r trade 
of the 
< miles 

out six 


md the 

leaks a 

is the 

re well 


: there, 



lage as 
last war 
d the 

In fort, 

lize as 
lues by 

;ts en- 

illies of 



Great Britain, after having opposed an heroic 
resistance, was forced to surrender, but on ho- 
nourable conditions. Of these, the principal was 
intended to prevent the massacres so often per- 
petrated by the savages, their commilitoncs, upon 
defenceless prisoners who confided in the faith 
and sanctity of treaties. 

The Enn:lish colonel who commanded the 
expedition kepi his promise, although acting 
under the famous general ******* who saw 
with the utmost indifference the tomaliawk and 
knife of these barbarians daily reeking with 
American blood. I wish 1 knew the name of 
this respectable officer, that I might hold it up 
to public admiration. 

Cikago, Pigeon-roost, French town, forts 
Milden and Meigs, were the scenes of cruelty 
which would make you shudder. The heart of 
captain Wells was roasted and eaten ; the whole 
body of a surgeon was served up as a banquet 
to a numerous party of guests ; nor could even 
the innocent children whom nature held con- 
cealed in the bosoms of tlie^r mothers, escape 
the relentless fury of these cannibals. Such was 
the horrible scene of massacre and slaughter, 
that Thecumseh, the general of king George, 
and the brother of the great prophet whom I 
mentioned to you upon the Ohio, felt himself 
more than once compelled to exclaim, " Stop! 



! ( 


in the name of the Great Spirit, our brothers 
are sufficiently avenged." 

Not only did this barbarian savage show him- 
self less cruel than *******, but at the battle of 
the Thames, where general Harrison triumphed 
over this sanguinary army, he died the death of 
a hero, while ******* fled like a coward, aban- 
doning both the Indians and his own soldiers to 
the fury of that vengeance, the whole weight of 
which ought to have fallen upon himself. His 
horse, the interpreter of his conscience, saved 
him from that ignominious end, which ought to 
have served as a warning to all monsters who 
trample under foot the laws of nations and the 
claims of humanity. 

I am convinced that the people of England 
have never known these horrors, or they would 
have held them up to public execration. They 
will perhaps thank me for the information. 

The Prairie da Chien is the rendezvous of a 
number of Indians who come there in autumn to 
lay in winter provisions, and in spring to settle 
with their creditors, who receive skins in pay- 
ment. They are much more punctual than the 
whites would be if they had no other guide than 
the law of nature, nor any other argument than 
their bow and arrow, their knife and gun. 

I also saw there some of the Winebegos, who 
are distinguished from all the other Indians by 





>how him- 

2 battle of 

3 death of 
rd, aban- 
oldiers to 
weight of 
jelf. His 
ce, saved 
ought to 

sters who 
s and the 

jy would 

>us of a 
itumn to 
I to settle 

in pay- 

lan the 
|de than 

;nt than 

)s, who 
lans by 

their gloomy and ferocious countenances. They 
are regarded as the most malignant, and in 
fact they were most intimately connected with 
*******. Their chief, Mai-Pock, paid his court 
to him by always api)caring before him with a 
necklace composed of the ears, noses, and scalps 
of Americans. I saw him, but refused to shake 
hands with him ; an expression of contempt the 
most severe and humiliating an Indian can re- 
ceive. He it was who regaled his friends with 
human flesh. 

It is supposed that this nation came from the 
northern parts of Mexico; and, indeed, they 
speak a language peculiar to themselves, and 
are the only friends of the Sioux, who seem also 
to have emigrated from Mexico. They roam 
and hunt towards the sources of Rocky River, 
upon the Owisconsin, Fox River, Green Bay, 
and upon lake Michigan. They are divided into 
seven tribes, who disperse their small summer 
encampments upon these rivers. Their number 
is about sixteen hundred. The first Frenchmen 
that arrived among them called them Puans, 
from the disagreeable odour that exhales from 
their bodies. 

I met there some of the Menomenis, whom 
the French distinguish by the name of Folic 
Avoinc ; because, with more prudence than most 
other savages, they collect in summer a quantity 







^ .,. IIIIIM 




1.4 II 1.6 







o^ ■ i> 








>^- ^>/< 

'4s % 



(716) 873-4503 




Ill I a w ' jii 

< ( 




I) •'• 

of wild oats, which grow in great abundance 
upon lake Hinlin, the Kakalin, and the river 
La Cross, where they hunt and often pitch their 
tents, which much resemble those of the Saukis, 
Foxes, and \^^inebegos. They have nearly the 
same habits and customs, but are considered 
more industrious and less barbarous. In the 
last war, they repeatedly refused to join the 
standards of the English. They replied to the 
emissaries who endeavoured to persuade them 
to enlist, "What have the Americans done to us, 
that we should go and plunge our tomahawks 
into their bosoms ?" This is a savage lesson to 
civilized people. Their number does not exceed 
twelve hundred. 

I cannot take leave of the Prairie du Chien 
without mentioning the many civilities I re- 
ceived from Mr Roulet, an agent, and one of the 
i principals of the South West Company. 

The Americans generally consider the Cana- 
dians as ignorant. Whether this be true, I 
know not ; but I do know that I invariably found 
them very polite and obliging, even among the 
lower classes. 

Heretics always think they know more than 
Catholics. I am not skilled in controversy : as 
to religious tenets, therefore, I shall merely ob- 
serve that, as the sects which have abjured Ca- 
tholicism are still without a common centre of 





union, and are continually wandering from error 
to error, in pursuit of that true credo which they 
never find, the inference seems to be that they 
know much less than we. But, in point of 
learning, it would be easy to prove, from the 
history of scier ^e and literature, that the Catho- 
lics were as well informed before the existence 
of an heretical church, as they are now, and that 
even since that period they have continued to 
furnish a large contingent to the literary world. 

When ministers, faithless to the laws of the 
divine legislator, and princes, rebellious to God 
and the people who confide the sceptre to them, 
that they may govern in justitid tt equitate, 
conceal, or disfigure the heavenly maxims of 
the Gospel, in order to render ignorance sub- 
servient to their political views, they are the 
only persons against whom the voice of censure 
should be raised: but respect is due to the 
professor of the most august of all religions. 

Nine miles above the Prairie, at a spot where 
the savages pay their adorations to a rock which 
they annually paint with red and yellow, the 
Mississippi presents scenes of peculiar novelty. 

The hills disappear, the number of islands in- 
creases, the waters divide into various branches, 
and the bed of the river in some places extends 
to a breadth of nearly three miles, which is 
greater by one half than at TSt Louis ; and, what 
is very remarkable, its depth is not diminished ; 




s 1^ 

}> > 

for from the Prairie to Fort St Peter we ran 
a-ground only once, whereas, from St Louis to 
the Prairie, it occurred four times. This is an 
additional proof of the correctness of my obser- 
vations, in our first excursion, respecting- the 
waters of the Ohio. Of three parts of the fluid 
which compose the ocean, two certainly filter 
through subterranean passages. 

We arrived very late on the 16th, but though 
it was night — vi si vedca. I am going to intro- 
duce you to a spectacle, my dear Madam, which, 
I assure you, I had not dreamt of in my wan- 
dering anticipations. 

The vigorous fertility of these countries im- 
parts such strength to the vegetation of the grass 
and brushwood with which they are overspread, 
that they obstruct the march of the Indians, and 
in spite of every precaution produce a rustling 
which awakens the M'ild beasts in their co- 

The Indians, who are not easily stopped by 
difficulties, set fire once a year to the brush- 
wood, so that the surface of all the vast regions 
they traverse is successively consumed by the 

It was perfectly dark, and we were at the 
mouth of the river Yahowa, — the second of that 
name, which, like the first, descends from the 
west, — when we saw at a great distance all the 
combined images of the infernal regions in full 





perfection. I was on the point of exclaiming, 
with Michael Angelo, " Hoiv terrible! but yet how 

The venerable trees of these eternal forests 
were on fire, which had communicated to the 
grass and brushwood, and these had been borne 
by a violent north-west wind to the adjacent plains 
and valleys. The flames towering ab« e the tops 
of the hills and mountains, where the wind raged 
with most violence, gave them the appearance of 
volcanoes, at the moment of their most terrific 
eruptions; and the fire winding in its descent 
through places covered with grass, exhibited an 
exact resemblance of the undulating lava of Vesu- 
vius or iEtna. Ceres was perhaps seeking a new 
Proserpina: — we had one in the steam-boat, but 
certainly no one had the least intention of car- 
rying her oflP. This fire accompanied us with 
some variations for fifteen miles. The great 
conflagration which was one of the causes that 
accelerated the fall of r Homme des siecles might 
be more terrific, but it would convey only a very 
faint conception of the sublime and awful ap- 
pearance of this. I have no doubt the devil 
himself was jealous of it; and the moon blushed 
at her powerless attempts to shine. 

A good old woman in our Bucentaur, who 
appeared to me the image of our poor Venice, 
really believed that the day of judgment was 

VOL. ir. N' 

'i n 





't *l 

*'■ i' 

V . 

come. Showers of large sparks, which fell upon 
us, excited terror in some, and laughter in 
others. I do not believe that I shall ever again 
witness such astonishing contrasts of light and 
darkness, of the pathetic and the comic, the for- 
midable and the amusing, the wonderful and the 

But to repeat the burden of Pangloss — " tout 
est pour Ic micux:" — these conflagrations de- 
stroy a number of serpents and other reptiles, 
which would otherwise infest the whole earth ; 
for I have been told that they, like fishes, cross 
the sea without compass or pilot : and you may 
judge of their fecundity by the serpent of major 

As we had travelled almost all night by the 
light of this superb torch, the steam-boat was 
tired, and ran a-ground in the morning upon a 
sand bank by way of resting itself. The place 
is called I'Embarras, from a river of that name 
which runs towards the west. Here we may 
apply, convmiunt rebus nombia sape suis. 

During the night we passed before the mouths 
of the rivers la Afauvaise Hac/ie, la Treille, et de 
Racoon, which descend from the east. 

Six miles above the river au.v Racines, at the 
west, on the same side, is a place called by the 
Indians C a sse- Fusils. It alludes to a very re- 
markable event in the history of these people. 



r in 
3 for- 
d the 

.«« tout 
s de- 
3arth ; 
u may 
' major 

by the 
)at was 
upon a 
e place 
e may 

[e, et de 

at the 
by the 
lery re- 

The first time that guns were given to the sa- 
vages by the English, much jealousy was excited 
among those who did not receive them. It hap- 
pened that a small party provided with those 
weapons, was attacked by another more nu- 
merous who liad none, and had all their muskets 
broken. It is one hundred and eighteen miles 
from the Prairie. 

From this spot a chain of mountains, whose 
romantic character reminds one of the valley of 
the Rhine, between Bingen and Coblentz, leads 
to the Alountain ivhich dips into the ivatcr. This 
place would exhaust all my powers of expres- 
sion if I had not seen Longue Vue. Amid a 
number of delightful little islands, encircled 
by the river, rises a mountain of a conical form 
equally isolated. You din b amid cedars and 
cypresses, strikingly contrasted with the rocks 
which intersect them, and from the summit you 
command a view of > alleys, prairies, and dis- 
tances in which the eye loses itself. From this 
point I saw both the last and the first rays of a 
splendid sun gild the lovely picture. The wes- 
tern bank presents another illusion to the eye. 
Mountains, ruggedly broken into abrupt rocks, 
which appear cut perpendicularly into towers, 
steeples, cottages, &c., appear precisely like 
towns and villages. 
A little higher on the same side, is a large prairie, 

P'- 1\' 


siorx ixniANs. 

called Id Prairie du.r Ai/cs, at which bcs^ins tlic 
tnict inluibitecl by the Sioux. The (JreatW'til)is- 
cihoiiwa, who is regarded as the Ulysses of the 
whole nation, has pitched his summercamp there. 
It is also the commencement of major Tagliawar's 
jurisdiction. The Indian tribes whom we have 
already seen are under the inspection of two 
other agents of the government, established at 
Koc'-y Island, and at the Prairie du Cliicn. 

The Sioux are the most numerous and power- 
ful of all the saviiire nations of North America. 
It appears, indeed, from their language, that 
they are not natives of the country, but have 
established themselves in it by conquest : and, 
indeed, they are to the Aborigines what the 
Greeks were in Asia, the Romans in Greece, the 
Goths in Italy, and the English in the East Indies. 

To obtain any accurate knowledge of these 
regions, or of their inhabitants, one must see and 
examine them oneself; for though a great deal 
has been written about the new world, — often 
either from mere distant guesses, or for the 
sake of making a book, — it seems that we are 
still in nncertainty or in ignorance as to the 
most important facts concerning it. But as 
my researches have hitherto been impeded 
by jealousy, I have not yet been able to 
prosecute them far. I shall therefore defer 
telling you about the Sioux till a future letter. 

W'AllISCIIIOiJW'A Cllltl'. 


ins the 
, of tlie 
p there, 
vc have 

of two 
shed at 

vc, that 
ut have 
it : and, 
hat the 
!ece, the 
t Indies, 
of these 
: see and 
eat deal 
, — often 

for the 
t we are 
s to the 

But as 

able to 
re defer 
re letter, 

when I may ])crhaps have succeeded by time 
and perseverance in taminj^or lulling to sleep my 
Arguses. Meanwhile Ictus continue our ramble. 

The Circat Wabiscihouwa came on board the 
steam-boat with his suite of pains (wmripti, 
and the customary high ceremonies were gone 
through between him and his /^////<v,— the name 
which the Indians are taught to apply to the 
agent of government. Major Tagliawar accord- 
ingly gave them plenty of shakes by the hand, 
and smoked the calumet of peace and amity, 
and I was the ape to this troop of comedians. 

Wabiscihouwa, though wrapped in a wretched 
buffalo's skin, had perfectly the air and aspect of 
a man of quality. His countenance, his arched 
eyebrows, his large nose, which he blew with 
great noise though without a handkerchief,— the 
motion of his right hand, with which he frequently 
stroked his forehead and chin,— his thoughtful 
air,— his eyes fixed as if entranced,— and his 
imposing manner of sitting, although on the 
ground, all marked him for a great states- 
man ; he wanted nothing to complete the resem- 
blance but an embroidered coat, a large portfolio 
under his arm, and spectacles. 

The tents of the Sioux are quite different from 
any we have seen. They are in the form of a 
cone, covered with skins of buffalos, or elks; 
the smoke goes out at the top, and almost all 





SKM \ DlllsMs. 






.uv |);«iiil('(l 111 liicroLilypliics. |'\)|- sonic rl»;i- 
r;irt( listic l«>;itiii'(<s wliich iiiiiik llicn iiiitntoird 
stale. \\\v paiiiUT and scnlplor ini^Iil ii'fof^nisc 
in \\\v rountrnanccs of llu'si* savai;<'S a nunlcl ul' 
i\\v |{<»inan laci* ; \hc nosi-s. of {\\v \uv\\ cspc- 
<'ially, aiv (piilc lionian, wliilt' Ihosc ol' the 
wonuMi art' pcrlcclly (liocian. Tlu" Sionx ol 
holh st>\cs liavc line lu'ads «)!' hair. L;(MU'rally 
black, likr their eyes, but almost as coarse and 
rouiih as h«)rse-hair. 1'lie women, in imilalion 
ol' those ol" llie Sa\ikis, wear the <'u(oLi<n/. Tlie 
men, on oeeasions of ceremony, or when lliey 
are in lull (h'ess. i;enerally wear it. parletl, or in 
snudl tresses. These tresses fall npon the 
shenUlers, tl\e breast, the two si(U's, and iht' 
baek. and are interlaced with small paste buekU's, 
whieh the traders ^ive them in exehanj^e lor 
skins. I counted twenty in a sinj^lo lock of 

Their wardrobe ivm\ furniture, as well as their 
canoes and their arms, are very like those of 
the Saukis. Tlu^ women would be more attrac- 
tive than those of the Saukis. if they were not 
much more dirty in their persons. 

This encampment is about one hundred and 
tit'ty-four miles from the Prairie du (7iic?i. From 
this encampment as far as lake Pepin, a distance 
of about fifty miles, the country is pleasant, and 
diversified by hills, plains, meadows, and forests. 


fHioi.oA II II AS iiisroiiv 


The only lw<» <'«»iisMl('r;il)h' iivcis which Hdw 
into the IVlississippi, wilhiii litis spiicr. ;iic 
of Ihc liHflnhtrs ;in(l the ('i//KHuns : they <l<'S(«'ml 
(Vom thcriisl, iiiul ;uc n;iviL,rj||)h' \n ;i ((nisidcrii- 
l)h' (lisliincc lip Ihc coiinhy. 

iVcMi- \\\v nioiith of Ihc hillci hcj^nns hike 
IN'pin. \vhi<'h is (inly ;i <lcc|) viillcy lillcd by the 
Mississippi. hut heroic we ( niei il. my dcjir 
(Niiintess, lei us jj^ive (Hir iitieiitioii mikI sympa- 
thy Ji inoiuent to a suhjcu't which is intereslififr^ 
frofii the prodC it aflords of nohle (pialitics in the 


A rock, which projects over the <!asieni side; 
of the lake, |)rccisely where it l)C[,nfiH, is reiuark- 
Jible for the same physical and historical fea- 
tures as that of Lencadia. There, the Muse of 
Mitylene, who wns more distinj^niished for her 
learnin^^ than her hciuity, precipitated hers(;lf 
as the only me;ms of curing a passion, which 
Phaon re([iiitcd with contempt ; here, O/tohmf/tfli^, 
who was ])eautiful but not less unhappy, resigned 
a life whicli was become insupportable to her, 
separated from her loved and loviup; Am/cioi. 

If I did not write letters on my rambles, J 
would write her history, out of which \ might 
make a novel ; but a few fjicts are sometimes 
much more valuable than whole volumes decked 
out with fiction. 


'I i< 



I ; I 

i'f :l 

! I 

,'i I 




The tribe of Oholoaitha was surprised by a 
hostile band, of which the father of Anikigi is 
the chief. She escaped the massacre, but was 
made prisoner. Brought up in the house of 
the victorious chief, from the age often to that of 
eighteen, the most impressible period of existence, 
her heart was touched with sentiments of grati- 
tude and love for his son, who had saved her life, 
and who returned her affection with equal ardour. 
On the conclusion of a peace, of that kind which 
both savages and non- savages so often confirm 
with their lips and belie in their hearts, she was 
restored to her tribe, and at the same time de- 
manded in marriage for Anikigi. Her father, a 
barbarous Sioux, and an irreconcileable enemy, 
obstinately refused to comply with the request of 
the good Cypewais, who wished at once to gratify 
his paternal tenderness and the passion of his 
son, and to consolidate the peace of the two 
families and of the two nations. Poor Oholoaitha, 
seeing the obstinacy of her father, gave herself up 
to despair, and took the fatal leap : she precipi- 
tated herself from this rock, the very day her 
father intended to sacrifice her to a union which she 
detested. Heaven knows how many noble minds 
are concealed imder this rude exterior, notwith- 
standing the vices which their contact with civi- 
lized nations has already planted in their hearts. 



The Indians devoted her memory to infiuny : 
with them, murder is a meritorious act, but self- 
murder the {greatest of crimes. 

Lake Pepin, as you enter it, presents the ap- 
pearance of an elliptical amphitheatre. It is 
encircled by little hills of equal height, which, 
gradually lessening as they ascend, are the Cufici; 
an elevated bank extending completely round 
it, is the exact representation of the Poilliini. 
The passages through which the river enters 
and flows out, are the two portw triiunphales — 
exactly at che north and south, like those 
of the amphitheatres of antiquity. The waters 
of the lake formed the Euripus-, and we were 
the combatants in the naval games, ov iiaumachia ; 
for we found to our cost that the common notion 
of the savage is not, as is generally thought, 
a mere prejudice. It is a fact that vessels on 
this lake are exposed in the daytime to a dan- 
gerous sort of whirlwind ; we were obliged to 
resort to some dexterous manoeuvres to avoid 
its consequences- The Indians, who looked at 
us with astonishment from the banks, were the 

Nature gave the first lessons in architecture ; 
and it is very probable that one of the basins, 
called lakes, supplied the first model of an am- 
phitheatre. Rome had two of great beauty in 



'.. i 

S ' 

'■ !■ 

the lakes of x\lbano and Nemi: in the Coli- 
seum, the great amphitheatre of Vespasian, I 
think I can trace a perfect resemblance to the 

Lake Pepin is the head quarters of rattle- 
snakes. I must detain you an instant to give 
you some new information, which I have just 
received, respecting the phenomena of their 

The poison of the rattle- snake produces no 
effect upon pigs : they eat it, thrive and fatten : 
yet it is fatal to itself; when it is held down 
with a forked stick, if it can turn its head, it 
bites itself, swells, and dies. It is an excellent 
tonic to any one who has courage to swallow 
it; but it is proved that a wound from its tooth 
is fatal years after the death of the serpent ; 
nor can chemical agents rob it of its poisonous 
qualities, although long exposed to the action 
of the sun, wind, rain or snow. 

Four or five miles above the termination of 
the lake towards the west, we met with another 
tribe of the Sioux, whose chief is named Tantan- 
gamani, celebrated as one of the bravest war- 
riors of his nation. He was one of the most 
ferocious agents of Proctor, and the unnatural 
father of the unhappy Oholoaitha. 

He came on board the steam-boat to shake 



hands with major Tagliawar. He is an old man 

of hideous aspect, bent under the weight of 

years and atrocities; but still, the scars with 

which his naked body was covered,— the dignity 

with which he wore his buffalo-skin, hung on 

his shoulders like the clamis of the Romans,— 

his bow and quiver slung across his back,l.a 

club, which added to the imposing gesticulations 

of his right hand;-and his Indian followers, 

who, with an air of pride and independance, 

formed a circle around him, gave him more klat 

and majesty than are possessed by sceptered kings 

amidst the splendour of heartless pomp, decked 

with the spoils of their subjects, surrounded by 

base slaves who flatter to deceive them, and by 

mercenary Praetorians, who, like the Romans of 

Jugurtha and Vitellius, sell themselves to the 

highest bidder. 

He spoke with frankness, though dissimula- 
tion is by no means uncommon even among the 

" My father," said he to the agent, " I thank 
the Great Spirit, that he has granted me another 
year to behold you once more ; for you see that 
I am very old, and expecting every instant to go 
to inhabit another earth. I again repeat, that 
I have been the fierce enemy to your nation, 
because I had bad advisers, who made n.e be- 
lieve that you were coming to deprive us of the 



liberty of liunting, and to kill our wives and 
children. But from the time we promised you 
our friendship, our hearts have been as white as 
this — (pointing to the agent's shirt.) Give us some 
assistance ; (this is the a}nen of all their spee«. hes) 
for in this season we can obtain nothing by 
hunting, and you know that we have no other 
de})endence ; be our friends, smoke with us, 
and in a few days I will pay you a visit at the 

This chief, although seventy, and almost worn 
out, is still much respected by his tribe, and al- 
most feared. TIms is the sole effect of the power 
which true merit exercises over the minds 
of barbarians, of which this chief is a me- 
morable example ; for savages generally neglect 
their old men, and abandon them to perish with 
hunger. The Winebegos carry their barbarity 
so far as to kill them. Probably, however, they 
consider it a meritorious act to terminate a life, 
which others spare, only to expose the object 
of their compassion to the most crui 1 sufferings, 
and to a dreadful and lingering death. 

I tried to obtain his bow and quiver, by flatter- 
ing him with the notion that I would immortalize 
his name by shewing them to everybody in my 
own country (the moon), and whatever others 1 
should pass through ; but finding that this sort 
of Paradise had but little attraction for him, I 





offered him in exchange some tobacco and 
gunpowder. Upon this he immediately grew 
generous, and gave them to me. Red people give 
nothing for nothing, any more than white ones. 

The place where this tribe was encamped, is 
called the Mountain of the Ganj^e. Its summit, 
which is of a flat form, commands a view equal 
in beauty to those with which I have almost ex- 
hausted your admiration. Below me, lay lake 
Pepin, — the river, — undulating hills and valleys, 
— forests, — meadows, intermixed with small 
lakes scattered here and there reflecting every 
object from their crystal surface, — and lastly, 
the Gange, which, winding its course along 
the foot of this lovely mountain, brings the 
tribute of its waters to the Great River : it was 
perfect enchantment. I could not satisfy the 
ardour and impatience of my eyes, and was at 
length glad to seek repose in the steam-boat, 
where an atmosphere of Asiatic apathy operated 
upon me like an opiate. In the midst of these 
impressive scenes, I heard no other expressions 
of admiration than — ''Very fine tueather T *M 
very pleasant day /" 

The river Canon, which flows from the west, 
has its sources in the extensive prairies which 
separate it from the Missouri. The Indians na- 
vigate it in their canoes nearly throughout its 
whole course. 





i 'f 

ri 'i 

Between the mouth of this river and that of the 
St Croix, the Mississippi becomes narrower, and 
less studded with islands. It is frequently con- 
fined between steep rocks, which give an awfully 
romantic character to it^ banks. Abrasions, 
which run horizontally along them, indicate that 
the waters of this river were formerly more 
copious ; and the traditions of some of the abori- 
ginal savages support this conjecture. Some 
think that tlie Otter's Tail river, which now flows 
from the south-east to the north into Hudson's 
Bay, formerly discharged itself, from the north- 
west to the south, into the Mississippi, by com- 
municating with the Crows' river, which arises 
a little to the east of it. These horizontal abra- 
sions frequently assume the striking appearance 
of friezes, cornices, &c. They were, I have no 
doubt, the first models of these architectural 
decorations. Nature is the mistress in every- 
thing: art only polishes and perfects. 

The river St Croix flows from the eastward. 
It is a large river, and affords an easy and exten- 
sive navigation. The country in which it rises is 
inhabited by the Cypewais ; but the Sioux claim 
sovereignty over it, which is the cause or pre- 
text for perpetual wars with that nation. This 
river, I think, received its name from father Hane- 
pin, who probably discovered it on the festival 
of the cross. It is fifty miles from lake Pepin. 



It of the 
^er, and 
tly con- 
ate that 
y more 
e abori- 
w flows 
! north- 
ly com- 
li arises 
il abra- 
lave no 
I every- 

rises is 
X claim 
or pre- 
, This 
r Hane- 

Twenty-two miles higher, at a place called 
the Marsh, on the same shore, is another tribe 
of Sioux, governed by Chatewaconamani, or the 
Little Raven. He was gone on a hunting excur- 
sion with the principal part of his warriors ;— or 
on the track of the enemy ; for when they have 
no beasts to kill, they kill each other. Perhaps 
they would prefer to amuse themselves in this 
way with the whites ; but the Americans are be- 
come too powerful, and have stationed military 
posts between their tribes. There is no union 
among these Indians; and, if I mistake not, the 
United States think it would be dangerous to 
them if there were. 

War with the savages will ever be defensive. 
Victories obtained over them would have no 
other effect than to drive them into their forests, 
where they are impregnable ; whilst the Ame- 
ricans would See their cities and their villages, 
their fields and cattle, laid waste by fire and 

On the 19th we stopped to take in wood. I 
was told of a cavern, which was only at a short 
distance from there, and about twelve miles 
above the encampment of the Marsh. 

A small valley on the east leads to it. 
Cedars, firs, and cypresses, seem to have been 
purposely placed there by nature, that the ap- 
proach might bespeak the venerable majesty of 





this sacred retreat. Tlic entrance is sj^acious, 
and formed in lime-stone rock, as wliite as 
snow. A rivulet, as transparent as air, flows 
through the middle. One may walk on with 
perfect ease for five or six fathoms, after which 
a narrow passage, which however is no obstacle, 
except to those apathetic beings whom nothing can 
excite, conducts to avast elliptical cavern, where 
the waters of the i;vulet, precipitating them- 
selves from a cascade, and reflecting the gleam 
of our torches, produced an indescribable eflect. 
You climb to the top of a small rock to reach 
the level of the bed of this Castalian spring, 
whose captivating murmur allures you onwards, 
in spite of the dithculties which impede your pro- 
gress, and you arrive at its source, which is at 
the very end of the cavern. It is calculated that 
it is about a mile in lenq^th. 

The ancients had yearly liistrationes , to purify 
themselves, their cities, fields, flocks, houses, 
and armies. The Peruvians used them nearly 
for the same purpose. The Catholic church has 
its rogat'mws, by means of which it implores the 
same mercies of the true god ; and in like manner 
the savages assemble yearly in this cavern, to 
perform their lustrationes ; and, what is more re- 
markable, at the same season, that is to say, in 
the spring ; and in the same manner, by water 
and fire, as the Catholics, the Peruvians, and 




^hite as 
r, flows 
on w'nh 
r which 
I, where 
^ tliem- 
c gleam 
3 effect. 


1 wards, 
3ur pro- 
ch is at 
ted that 

) purify 
rch has 
)res the 
^ern, to 
lore re- 
say, in 
Y water 
lis, and 

the ancients. They plunge their clothes, arms, 
medicine h(i<j;fi, and persons, in the water of this 
rivulet; they afterwards pass their arms and 
clothes, together with their medicine /uf<>:s, through 
a large fire, which was not extinguished at the 
time of my visit. This ceremony is always ac- 
companied with a danco round the sacred fire, 
in a mystic circle, like the medicine dance. It 
appears that this ludratiu is their corporeal 
purification. » 

The cave is appropriated to other ceremonies 
in the course of the year. 

The Indians assemble there to consult either 
the Great Manitou or theit particular Manitous ; 
and their chiefs, like Numa Pompilius, can 
make their nymph Egeria speak whenever they 
want to prevail on a reluctant people to obey 
them. They perform all their lustrationes before 
they consult the oracle, as the Greeks did before 
tney entered the cave of Trophonius. The 
Sioux call this cave Whakoon-Thiiby, or the abode 
of the Alanitous. Its walls are covered with 
hieroglyphics : these are perhaps their ej:-voto 

This cavern has one great advantage over 
those of antiquity; credulity is not here an 
object of traffic. Some religion there must be 
everywhere, and the one freest from this vice is 
perhaps the best. 








On the 20th we arrived here, where I could 
not excuse myself from lodging at the colonel's, 
the commandant of the fort. The extreme 
politeness with which he opposed my wish to 
shut myself up, in some independant little 
room, at first excited my suspicion that his 
object was to keep a stricter watch upon me ; 
and I confess that I was so malicious as to laugh 
at this idea, and to make it a subject of laughter 
to others; but I have since had reason to believe 
that his intention was to pay me respect, for 
which I am truly grateful. If any restraint is 
occasionally imposed upon n\y curiosity or my 
enquiries, it is only the effect of that petty 
jealousy which is to be found everywhere, and 
particularly in republics ; unless they are afraid 
that I am come to make myself master of these 
savage regions. 

In America you meet with nothing of that 
hideous police which impedes and molests every 
movement all over the continent of Europe; and 
if every individual American choose to exercise 
the functions of a police officer in his own per- 
son, his only object is to know if you are rich, 
(primo); what rank you hold in society, — for it 
is utterly false that they are indifferent to that 
consideration ; — what your political opinions are; 
what business brings you to America; and a 
number of other trifles, which are rather gossip- 




I could 
wish to 
It little 
that his 
on me ; 
to laugh 
) believe 
lect, for 
traint is 

y or my 

it petty 
re, and 
e afraid 
)f these 

of that 
ts every 
pe; and 
wn per- 
re rich, 
— for it 
to that 
)ns are ; 
and a 

ping than inquisitorial. In America, people are 
as free and independent as the air they breathe. 

However, we may perform the comedy of 
Rim crmtrc Ruse; and, if the author of tlie Ca- 
f'dctcrcs Nat'miaiLv is right in the type he gives 
the Italians, 1 shall beat the Americans. 

Let us rest a little, my dear Countess, for 
this ramble has been a very long one ; nearly 
nine hundred and twenty-fve miles. I hope at 
least it mr.y have been an agreeable one to you. 
As for myself, it ought to have given me pleasure 
and relief; but, though the mind may be rliverted 
from its pains for a moment, it soon relapses. 

P. S. To give you a proof of my patience, in 
which you have not much faith, I send you a 
table of the distances we have just traversed; a 
task which would exhaust the patience of a 
hermit. It may be of some use to any of our 
friends who are inclined to undertake a similar 





^ \' 



Kruiii St lA)uis to tlic inoutlis ui tlic 

To ilio I'oiiiigo of llio Sioux, 
To the UiviT Illinois, 
To till' (iiiMt ('apo CJray, 
'J'o ('laiksvillc, 
To Louisianitviilo, 
To tlie Salt Rivor, 
To llic Kslablisliiiipnt of Mr Ciilbcrt, 
To anolliPi small Kslablisliiuont, 
'I'o the Two lliveis, 
To till' I'raiiif ilos [,inrils, 
To tlip Chamu'l of tlie Foxes, 
To Fort Kilwaril, 
To the top of the Uapids, 
To Olil Fort Minlison, 
To tlie River Ki'^te Puantc, 
To the Yellow Hills, 
'J'o the lliver Vawoha, 
To the Grande I'rairic Mascotin, 
To the eml of the same, 
To the River la Roche, oi Rocky, 
To ^jrt Armstronii, 
To the top of the Rapids, 
To the Village of the Foxes, 
To the Marais d'Ogr, 
'I'o the old Village Saiivage, 
To the Potatoe I'rairie, 
To the Prairie du Frappeur, 
To the River la Pomme, 
To the Clu'-niere, 
To the River la Garde, 
To the Tetcs <lcs Morts, 
To the River aux Fu'ins, 
To the Dubuques ]\Iines, 
To the Prairie Macotche, 

To the old Village du BStard, 

To the Turkies' River, 

To the old Village de la Port, 

To the River Owisconsin, 

To the Prairie <lu Cliicn, 

To the Pointed Rock, 

To Cape Winebegos, 


of III r 
ol llic 












































Formerly inhabited by a 
savage of the same 

Formerly inha Med by a 
savage of that name. 

From the name of a sa- 
vage who inhabited it. 

A place formerly inhabit- 
ed by savages, whose 
chief was called the 





J brought forward 
To (!a|)«< ,\ I'Ail Siuiva;,'f, 
To the I'pper llivt-r Yawolia, 
To till! UiviT de la Mauvaisc Jlaclio, 
'J'o lliL- Trcilli?, 
'I'o llu; HiviT llacoon, 
'J'o the llivcr aiix Uaciiics, 
To ll)(! IVainc la Crosse, 
'I'o tlif ('assf Fusils, 
To tiic Miack KiviT, 
To lli(! Mountain i/ui Irc/itpc u I'Hau 
To tin; I'rairie uiix /lilv.i. 
To llic River aiir Einhdirnn, 
To the I'rairie of Cypresses, 
To llie Mud'alns Kiver, 
'J'o the (jreat Kneaini)mcnf, 
'J'o the Kiver Cypavvais, 
I-ake I'ejiiii to the end, 
To the River Gauge, 
'J'o tiie River (Janon, 
To tile River St (,'roix, 
'To the Medieine Wood, 
'J'o tiic Detour dcs Pius, 
To the Groat Marcii, 
To the (Jave de Carver, 
'J'o the (^avc ut' tiie IVlanitous, 
To the River St J'eter, 
To the River of the l.itlie I'alls, 
'J'o the Falls of St Anthony, 


III Ihi' 

of III!' 

















































This is abeecii, a tree un- 
known in these coun- 
tries, and which the 
savages venerate as a 

Where is situated I'ort 
St Anthony. 

;ed by a 

li same 

ed by a 


of a sa- 
bited it. 
, whose 
led the 


• «. 

I. K T T K U XV 

, r 

i'ort St Pdir, Missiasipin, 
June [Ot/t, 1823. 

I low (Icliglitful it is to liiid that the sentiments 
of friendship eim meet us even across the wide 
extent of sea and land which divides us from our 
househoUl gods, and can cheer us amid the pains 
and privations of absence! I have just received 
your dear letter of the 12th November 1822. 
The tidings you give me of yourself, — of those 
belonging to you or to me, and of our common 
friends, are so interesting to me, that I read it 
over and over, and know not how to lay it down. 
How little did vve think, even when we parted, 
that your letters would follow me into the cen- 
tral wilds of North America, among savages, of 
whom we had not even an idea. But such is 
the wayward lot of man. 





Voii enquire kindly about tlic state of my 
spirit.' . The novelty of the ol)jcets whieli sur- 
round me, the silenee, the immensity of the 
regions through whieh I pass, oeeasionally stop 
the usual current of my thoughts, or cimrm them 
into momentary slumber ; but the instant they 
awake, they fly back to tiieir mournful centre, 
and leave mc once more a prey to melancholy 

You ask me if 1 have forgotten the use of my 
pen? My Arguses would tell you that it is 
always in my hand. When you have read all I 
have written to you in the short time I have 
spent in America, you will perhaps beg me to 
desist. As, however, I have led you into savage 
lands, I must not let you quit them without 
making you in some degree acquainted with 

Let us return to our steam-boat, which has 
marked a memorable epoch in this Indian terri- 
tory, as well as in the history of navigation 

I know not what impression the first sight of 
the Phoenician vessels might make on the inha- 
bitants of the coasts of Greece ; or the Triremi 
of the Romans on the wild natives of Iberia, 
Gaul, or Britain ; but I am sure it could not be 
stronger than that which I saw on the counte- 
nances of these savages at the arrival of our 





\ ^ 

When they saw it cut its way without oars or 
sails against the current of the great river, some 
thought it a monster vomiting fire, others the 
dwelling of the Manitous, but all approached 
it with reverence or fear. 

All the persons on board were in their eyes 
something more than human. Major Taglia- 
war, the agent, was astonished at the extraor- 
dinary -marks of respect with which he was 
received. The Indians thought he was in the 
company of spirits ; — it matters little whether 
they took us for gods or devils, for savages pay 
equal reverence to both ; nay, they pray more 
to the evil spirits than to the good ; for, say they, 
the latter, who are perfectly good, can do only 
good, but we must take great care not to offend 
the wicked, that they may do us no harm. If 
this is not orthodox, it shews at least that the 
savages are not bad logicians. 

Our present ramble, my dear Madam, will 
begin and end around this fort. I have not been 
able as yet to go far. But I have no reason to 
regret either loss of time or absence of interest- 
ing incidents. 

This fort is in latitude 45". The river St Peter 
falls into the Mississippi near the promontory 
upon which it is built ; the two streams make it 
a peninsula, the former washing it on the S. S.W. 
side, the latter on the N.E. The fort commands 
them both admirably, and is delightfully situ- 



ated. On the south and cast it has beautiful and 
diversified country, and on the north and west 
immense prairies, whose monotony is relieved 
by little lakes and groves. This is the last 
military station of the United States on the 
north-west of their territory. 

Although these frontiers cannot be invaded 
by a foreign power, unless its armies fall from 
the skies, yet, being a central point to a great 
number of Indian tribes, it is a very important 
post; chiefly as a means of preventing the En- 
glish from gaining any fresh influence over their 
commerce or their minds. This is probably the 
reason that the garrison consists of six compa- 
nies, and is commanded by a colonel, who is 
also the military chief of forts Edward, Arm- 
strong, and Arthur, which, on emergency, could 
send succours to, or receive them from this. 

The building of these forts, at such a distance 
from all possibility of surveillance by the govern- 
ment, in any other country would make the for- 
tunes of contractors, and contribute to the ruin 
of the public finances. Here it does no more than 
furnish the soldiers' knapsacks a little better : 
by entrusting the construction of them to their 
respective commanders, government dispenses 
with the services of that crowd of engineers who 
often build and rebuild on an understanding 
with the contractors. Colonel Snelling's activity 


J \ 



I I 

and vigilance hardly repose even by night, and 
one sees walls spring up as if Amphion's lyre 
had called them into existence. 

There are no buildings round the fort, ex- 
cept three or four log-houses on the banks of 
the river, in which some subaltern agents of the 
South-west Company live among the frogs. 
There is no other lodging to be had than in the 
fort ; so here I am following the rule of these 
Cenobites, to the sound of the drum. I would 
rather it were the bell of the Paraclete, or of 
Ranc^S or Cominge. 

The land around the fort is cultivated by the 
soldiers, whom the colonel thus keeps out of 
idleness, which is dangerous to all classes of 
men, but particularly to this. It yields as much 
as sixty to one of wheat, and God knows what 
proportion of maize. Each officer, each com- 
pany, each employ^, has a garden, and might 
have a farm if there were hands to cultivate it. 

Every fort built on the Indian territory has an 
extent of nine square miles. These lots have 
been sold or ceded by the Indians to the United 
States. Though these contracts are perhaps 
defective in the two imperative conditions re- 
quired by the law de ewendo of the Justinian code, 
that is to say, pretium (cquum ct consensus (sine 
(juibiis fion,) yet it ought to be said, to the honour 
of the American government, that by this act of 





acquisition it has shewn that it recognizes the 
respect due to the property even o^ savages, 
V lio utterly disregard it themselves. Moreover, 
the chief sovereignty of all th's territory belongs 
to the United States directly, in virtuf^ of the 
treaty of 1783 with England, and that of 1803 
with France. 

The first conquerors are the only people who 
can be accused of usurpation, and as they 
were justified by hullti, it folloN s uf course that 
nobody is to blame; or, if anybody, it can only 
be the Indians, as being the weakest. 

The colonel has rendered the view of the 
piairies and forests around the fort much more 
agreeable, by the introduction of cattle. The 
country becomes insipid and heartless in time 
without these animated objects. He has brought 
oxen, cows, and horses. There are no sheep, 
owing probably to the too great severity of the 

In all the immense tracts we have traversed, 
from the environs of St Louis to this spot, we 
have not seen one of those creatures which give 
animation and interest to the great picture of 
nature. There is not a single Indian who has 
a cow, an ox, or a sheep, and very few have 
horses: this renders it a matter of indifference 
to them to burn their grass every year, nor do 
they care if everything else is burnt too ; they 
have nothing to lose, and if the fire approach 





< t 


: \M 


their camp, their houses are soon transported, 
either on their heads, like snails, or in their 
canoes, as the aquatic birds transport their 
nests Wiien they are threatened by an inun- 

The fort is surrounded by fifteen lakes, all 
abounding" in delicious fish. The one named 
after Mr Calhoun, the present secretary at war, 
is the pleasantest, and its conical depth, the 
character of its banks, and of its neighbourhood, 
seem to prove that it was the crater of a volcano. 
It is to the east of the fort. There are two 
others near it, which communicate ; their com- 
bined waters are brought through a canal, four 
miles long, to the edge of a precipice, down 
which they fall in a most picturesque cascade, 
which strongly reminded me of one of the 
Cascatelle of Tivoli. One can meet with nothing 
grand or beautiful which does not recall some 
spot of that heavenly country where I first saw 
the light — that Helen, who is desired and des- 
poiled by everybody — whose charms are con- 
tinually renewed, and with them her miseries. 

" O fosli tu men bella, o almen piu forte !'' 

These two lakes, as well as the others to the 
east and south, are named after ladies who in- 
habit, or who have inhabited, the fort. 

What a new scene presents itself to my eyes. 




my dear Madam ! How shall I bring it before 
you without the aid of either painting or poetry? 
I will give you the best outline I can, and your 
imagination must fill it up. Seated on the top 
of an elevated promontory, I see, at half a mile 
distance, two great masses of water unite at the 
foot of an island which tliey encircle, and whose 
majestic trees deck them with the loveliest hues, 
in which all the magic play of light and shade are 
reflected o ) their brilliant surface. From this 
point they rush down a rapid descent about two 
hundred feet long, and, breaking against the scat- 
tered rocks which obstruct their passage, they 
spray up and dush together in a thousand varied 
forms. They then fall into a transverse basin, in 
the form of a cradle, and are urged upwards by 
the force of gravitation against the side of a pre- 
cipice, which seems to stop them a moment only 
to encrease the violence with which they fling 
themselves down a depth of twenty feet. The 
rocks against which these great volumes of 
water dash, throw them back in white foam 
and glittering spray ; then, plunging into the 
cavities which this mighty fall has hollowed, 
they rush forth again in tumultuous waves, and 
once more break against a great mass of sand- 
stone forming a little island in the midst of 
their bed, on which two thick maples spread 
their shady branches. 
This is the spot called the Falls of St Anthony, 




( r 


• M 

I !" 



eight miles above the fort; a name which, I be- 
lieve, was given to it by father Hanepin to com- 
memorate the day of the discovery of the great 
falls of the Mississippi. 

A mill and a few little cottages, built by the 
colonel for the use of the garrison, and the sur- 
rounding country adorned with romantic scenes, 
complete the magnificent picture. 

Let us return to the savages, my dear Madam ; 
we will first try to ascertain the number of their 
bands, the distribution of their tribes, their ordi- 
nary haunts, their population and warlike force. 

The Sioux are subdivided into six bands, the 
Madewakan Tuam, or people of the Spirit's 
lake. The Wakapetohan, or people of the Leaf. 
The Wapecothee, or people of the Plucked Leaf. 
The SissisthoanaorSussistons. The Yancthoana, 
or Yanktons. The Pitowana, or the Titons. 
The former is divided into seven tribes. 


The tribe of the Prairie aux Ailes, or Memy- 
noe, governed by the chief Wabiscihouwa, or 
the Leaf, of whom we have already spoken, is 
about 400 strong 

Tribe of the Gauge, or Gremignieyas, — 
chief, Tatangamani, or the Red Wing . 200 

Tribe of the Marsh, or Ciakantanga,- 
chief, Cetauwacoamani, or the Little 
Raven 500 




h, I be- 
to corn- 
tie great 

t by the 
the sur- 

2 scenes, 

Madam ; 
r of their 
heir ordi- 
ike force, 
inds, the 

3 Spirit's 
the Leaf. 

:ked Leaf, 
le Titons. 

or Memy- 

houwa, or 

spoken, is 

400 strong 


T . 200 




Tribe of the Great Aveniill, or Wakas- 
ka-atha, — chief, Wamenitanka, or the 
Black Dog 

Tribe of the old Village, or Othoetouni, 
— chief, Tocokoquipesceni, orPanisciowa 

Tribe of the Prairie des Frani^ais, or 
Theawatpa,— chief, Sclakape, or the Six 

Tribe of the Battue aux Fievres, or 
Wuiakaothi, — chief, Ki-han, or Ited 

The second band forms one single tribe, 
it is always wandering, but generally 
makes a halt near the Rapids of the St 
Peter ; its chief is the Wopokian, or the 
Little Stag. Number 

The third band also consists of a sinde 
tribe likewise always wandering, it is 
often seen on the Canon river ; its chief 
is the Kariwassician, or French Raven. 
Its number is 

The fourth is divided into two tribes, 
under two chiefs, Akant-hoo, or the Blue 
Spirit, and Tatankanathi, or the Standing 
Ox. They wander about the river of the 
Blue Earth, or Makatohose. Their num- 
ber is 

The fifth is composed of eight tribes, 
all wandering about the sources of the St 
Peter towards the Red river, about the 










country which lies between these two 
rivers and the Missouri, &c. The Wa- 
natha, or the Plunger, is chief of the first, 
the number of which is 1800 

He is however a sort of chief sovereign 
of the Yanctons, and has as great an in- 
fluence ever the whole Sioux nation, 
from his valour and his exploits, as 
AYabiscihuowa, from his cunning and 

The chief of the second is the Tuimo- 
haconte, or the Little Beaver Killer. 
Number 1800 

The third, the Ciaka-hapi, or the Lancer i 500 

The fourth, the Thaona-hape, or the 
Running Original 800 

The seventh, the Wawaka-han;\, or 
the Broken Leg 1000 

The eighth, the Waha-koon, or the 
Medicine Man 1000 

The sixth, or the band of Ty tons, con- 
sists of two tribes, which wander over the 
country about the Missouri. They are 
very powerful. The chief of the one is 
the Cianothepeta, or Heart of Fire ; and 
of the other Ciakahapapi, or the Drum- 
mer. Their numbers are calculated at 
about 28,000 





• 1500 



. 1000 

. 1000 

. 28,000 


All these details have been derived from 
sources to which even my Arguses never had 
access. Tliey are the purest — indeed, I will ven- 
ture to say — the only, authentic. 

The Assiniboins, a savage people, who wan- 
der over those vast prairies which extend from 
the northern sources of the Missouri to near 
Hudson's Bay, and who are known under the 
general appellation of the peop/e of the pla'nis, 
might likewise be considered as Sioux ; for, from 
the information I procured through the same chan- 
nel, — information which throws great light on 
the origin of their names, — it appears certain that 
the Sioux and they were formerly one nation. 

A great nation, which came from Mexico, 
established itself on this side the Cypowais 
mountains, which separate the sources of the 
Missouri from the sources of the Colombia, and 
New Mexico from the western frontier of the 
United States. These Indians were called 

One finds Helens everywhere. The Dacotas 
had theirs, and she was the cause of as great 
evils as the beautiful Greek. 

Ozolapaida, wife of Winahoa-appa, was car- 
ried off by Ohatam-pc\, who killed her husband 
and her two brothers, who came to reclaim 
her. Discord and vengeance arose between these 
two tribes, the most powerful of the nation. 

VOL. II. p 





Tlie relations, friends, and partisans of eaeli, 
took up the quarrel; one act of revenge begat 
another, until the whole nation was drawn 
into a bloody civil war, which eventually divided 
it into two factions, under the names of Assini- 
boinn, the partisans of the offenders family, and 
Siowac^, those of the offended ; — like the Bianchi 
and the Neri, the Uberti and the Buondel- 
monti, &c. &c. 

When they wanted greater extent of country 
they split into two nations, the Sioux and the 
Assiniboins : but separation and distance did 
not put an end to their wars, which continued 
for a long period of time ; it is but lately that 
they have made peace. The event which gave 
birth to their divisions happened, according to 
their calculations, about tv/o hundred years ago ; 
and the identity of their language, manners, and 
habits, adds weight to their respective traditions. 
I can vouch for the authenticity of these details, 
though they are perfectly new and totally un- 
known even to the garrison of the fort. 

The Assiniboins always keep together in large 
bands. When they hunt the buffalo, which is 
almost their only means of subsistence, they as- 
semble in great numbers, and sometimes form an 
encampment of a thousand tents. They are sup- 
posed to be about twenty- five thousand strong. 

The military force of the red men is gene- 



rally in the ratio of a fifth of their population. 
This is the body which they call the men of 
war; but on emergency they all fight,— men, 
women, and children. 

The Sioux are all united by a confederation, 
but their tribes are independent of each other. 
Each tribe makes war at its own discretion, and 
deliberates about its own afifairs. They all 
assemble in a general council on those occasions 
solely which interest the whole nation. Jn this 
case each tribe sends a deputy by whom it is 
represented in the wood or forest where they 
hold their meeting. If the resolution of the 
council is of any importance, and deserves to be 
registered and transmitted to posterity, a tree 
serves them as both register and archiVe ; they 
engrave hieroglyphics, relative to the subject of 
their deliberations, with a knife or hatchet on its 
trunk, and each deputy adds the armorial bear- 
ings of his tribe. 

It appears that four principal or parent lan- 
guages may still be distinguished in North 
America; the Algonquine on the North, the 
Cherokee on the South, the Iroquois on the 
East, and the Nordowekies, or Nackotahn, on 
the West. The Sioux speak the latter, which 
is an additional proof of their Mexican origin ; 
especially as that language is quite different 
from the others. 







It is also said that their reli<^i()n differs 
from tliat of tlie Saukis, Cypowais, c^c. Ik'fore 
we affect to distinguish the diti'erences, we 
ought to know what each consists in. This, 1 
tliink, is truly problematical, nor do I see how it 
can be cleared up, unless religions are all 
dreams. Without drawing you into disserta- 
tions which would only weary you, you will 
see from what will lall naturally under our ob- 
servation, what sort of judgment can be formed 
of their faith. I confess that, from the little I 
have already seen, I should be tempted to 
think they have traditions without divinities, 
ceremonies without worship, and superstitions 
without religion: the homage they pay to the 
sun and moon, if it deserve the name of reli- 
gious worship, is certainly the only one which 
exists among them. 

If we were to judge of religions by external 
signs, we might come to the conclusion that 
these savages are Catholics, or at least Chris- 
tians; for almost all of them, particularly the 
women, wear crosses. I have counted not fewer 
than thirty-seven on one woman; she had even 
one hanging from her nose ! This may appear 
extraordinary, but is, I think, easily explained. 
The first missionaries sent by the French into 
Canada, to convert and civilize these people, in 
all probability sought to win their good-will by 




e, in 
ill by 

presents, of wliicli crosses would of course be 
tlje first. The Indians, tliouj^h abandoned anew 
to their ig^norance and their instincts, were per- 
haps attached to a sign which reminded tliem 
of former hopes, or of the piety of the Black 
Robes, (for so they called the first Catholic 
missionaries) and made them their favourite 
ornaments. The traders, who only try to allure 
them by the things which please them most, in 
order to get their furs cheaper, have continued 
to bring them crosses; and vanity has succeeded 
to religion, here as in many other countries. 

Some travellers have affirmed that the Indians 
believe in the immortality of the soul. Of this 
also you shall judge for yourself hereafter; I 
will only repeat to you here what I myself heard 
at that awful moment when man, for once in his 
life, speaks the language of his conscience. 

A dying father said to the children and rela- 
tives who surrounded him, ** I have been brave — 
be so likewise : I have killed many enemies — 
kill as many as you can: I have always avenged 
myself — never forgive the murderers of your 
kindred." He then recounted to them all his 
exploits, his battles, his v/ounds, &c. with as 
much detail as his situation permitted, and to 
his last moment talked to them of nothing but 
his ])ast life, without an allusion to the future ; 
nor did anybody present allude to it. 



f\ i; 


Another Indian ordered that his dog* should be 
buried with him. As this animal had been faith- 
ful to him through life, he wished that it should 
bear him company even in death. This testa- 
mentai y disposition seemed indeed to show that 
he believed in the immortality not only of his own 
soul, but of his dog's; but system-makers would 
find themselves surrounded by incongruities 
they would vainly attempt to reconcile, and by 
darkness they could never penetrate. I was 
greatly amused on this latter occasion at the 
conduct of his wife, who, while she made the 
customary and proper grimaces and bowlings, 
shewed great satisfaction at the preference he 
had given to his dog's company over hers. It 
sometimes happens that these women are com- 
pelled either by complaisance, or in deference to 
public opinion, to follow their husbands to the 
grave, like the w^omen of Malabar. 

I attended some of the meetings of the In- 
dians held in the presence of the agent of go- 
vernment, who is also called the savage agent. 

These meetings are called councils, and all 
the tribes or deputations, headed by their 
respective chiefs, come annually, — generally at 
this season, — to offer, or to renew, their assu- 
lances of peace and amity with the United 
States. They likewise come to treat of affairs 
peculiar to each band, or to each tribe respect- 

V '*^ 






ively, and to make their complaints (if they 
have any to make) of the traders : they receive 
any annuities yet due to them from the ceded 
lands ; but their great motive for coming is, to 
lay their necessities and their miseries before 
the government, and to receive the presents 
which it has annually made them for some years 
past of gunpowder, lead, tobacco, and other 
articles of necessity or ornament. The object 
of these presents is, probably, to counterba- 
lance the effect of the captious bounties of the 
English. Perhaps these measures, which appear 
liberal and philanthropical, are merely politic ; 
but whatever be the causes, we must admire the 
effects when they are beneficial to mankind. If 
the first conquerors of America had employed 
similar means, their conquests would perhaps 
have been more secure, and they would have 
spared the Indians the sufferings, and them- 
selves the infamy, of their bloody victories. It 
will perhaps be objected that it was the policy 
of the time to slaughter the savages in a mass, 
whereas it is now sufficient to look on and let 
them destroy one another : but it may be per- 
mitted to question whether nature or religion 
sanction conquests which can be obtained at no 
other price than human butcheries. 

When any question is agitated which interests 
all the tribes who are under the superinten- 




;'s i 

a n 

dance of one agent, the chiefs and orators of 
cacli tribe assemble in the usual council-cham- 
ber to debate in his presence and with his 
assistance. But if the 'affair regard tribes in 
the jurisdiction of different agencies, the discus- 
sion is carried in the same representative man- 
ner before the superintcudant-general of the 
territory. The respective agents then generally 
form part of the assembly, as being the persons 
best q ualified to give information to the super- 
intendant and the parties respectively. 

This is all I have been able to discover as to 
these different jurisdictions, in the cautious 
silence which reigns around me. 

It certainly is not agreeable to have takers of 
notes about one, so that I am not in the least 
surprised at the reserve of these gentlemen, nor 
at the impediments they throw in the way; but 
they labour under a strange mistake if they fancy 
that people will come such a distance, and into 
such a country, only to shake hands with them 
and say "How do you do'f" They ought to 
have too good an opinion of themselves to think 
I can enter into any rivalry with them ; it would 
be madness in a poor and solitary rambler to 
pretend to compete with national expeditions, 
provided with sextants, graphometers, savajis, 
money, men, horses, flotillas, &c. And, if they 
are as clear-sighted as they appear jealous and 


,.-^ ^-^.-..t^^y^.. 




' } 

distrustful, they might discover that my cha- 
racter and principles would not allow me to 
commit them by any indiscretions. 

The council-hall is, as it ought to be, a great 
room built of trunks of trees. The Hdg of the 
United States waves in the centre, surrounded 
by English colours, and medals hung to the 
walls. They are presented by the Indians to 
their Father, the agent, as a proof that they 
abjure all cabal or alliance with the English. 
Pipes, or calumets, and other little Indian pre- 
sents, offered by the various tribes as pledges of 
their friendship, decorate the walls and give a 
remarkable and characteristic air to the room. 
A table without an inkstand, — for it would be a 
breach of politeness to write in the presence of 
those who are ignorant of the art, — three or four 
seats for the agents, the interpreter and any spec- 
tator who may not like to sit, like the savages, 
on the ground, compose the whole furniture. 

The chiefs, the venerable old men whom the 
renown of their past exploits still renders re- 
spectable in the eyes of the young, the prophets, 
the orators, and the principal warriors, generally 
attend these meetings. 

No formalities are observed, for the Indians 
use not even a salutation; they touch your 
hand perhaps if they know you, and consider 






lOKMAIITIKK Ol IIIK ('(H \('ll,. 


you an ;i friend, l)nt iilwiiys witlioiit s|)(!ukiii^^^ 
Jind often without lookin|jf Jit you. 

There is uo demand for masters of the eere- 
moni(\s, eluinduMlains, jii^entlenuin-ushers, and 
the hke useful and imj)ortant funetionaries ; th(;y 
eome in and j:(o out us tliey please; th(;y sit or 
recline as they find it most eonunodious ; neither 
do they want an ambassador or minister to \m'.- 
sent them as i^cntltnun ,s(W(f<><:^-, or (/i.sti//gnis/ta/, 
or illuMnoiis sara^r.s. 

The sLumr ojiens with a speech ')f tlu^ chief, 
who rises and addresses the a^^ent. lie "gene- 
rally l)e<^ins with the Great Spirit, or the sun, 
or the moon " whose ])urity is (^([I'alled by that 
of his own heart," iv:c. \-c. always finishinj^ with 
a petition for ])resents; — wlilsla'j/ is sure to find 
honourable; mention : these are whatMn^dish law- 
yers call the cowman couuU. The agent rc^plies 
by the mouth of the int(;r|)retcr. lie begins by 
a favourable acknowledgment of their friendly 
sentiments, after which he expounds to them 
their true interests and the policy it behoves 
them to follow; he gives them paternal advice, 
and ends with a flourish about the power, the 
valour, and the strength of his great nation. 
Here the scene closes. 

The second act begins with the ceremony of 
the sky blue pipe, or calumet, which the Tn- 





(lians vonorafo as a Manifoii, or Good Spirit of 
peace ; lliey, however, pay it nuieli less nispeet 
than they do to the evil s|)irit of war, repre- 
scujted hy a red pipe. 

This eahim(!t is pres(;iited by one of th(! 
bravest warriors, and by a war chief, wlio, on 
this occasion, ptMforins the functions of aide-de- 
camp of the chief on liis ri^dit. 'Fhe ajrcmt 
smokes first, the colonel or commandant of thcj 
place (if present; second; the interpreter and 
oth(!r whites follow in succession. 'I'lu; pipe is 
th(!n passed on to all the red men, ])c;rinnin^ 
by the chief, till it has ^rone throu^di every 

There is then another pause between the acts, 
durin^^ which the af,^ent and the interpreter are 
busied in the store-house, preparing' for the third 
and last act. This opens with the ceremony of 
brinrrin^^r Uie presents which Ihv father ^nvcs 
them in the; nanie of the if rent father. 

The chief receives them without speaking a 
word or makin^.^ a sign in evidence of gratitude^ 
or even of the slightest satisfaction. He delivers 
them to his savag(!s, who depart still more si- 
lently than they came, without doing either the 
father, or the strangers who surround him, the 
honour to cast a look at them. Those who re- 
main in the hall maintain the same air of indif- 
ference. The chief afterwards shakes hands with 




the agent as if to do him a favour, and every one 
j,"oes his own way. The abbe Casti would not 
find here either the Lccca ZampUy or any other 
court ceremonies, to represent. 

As soon as the tribe returns to its home in 
the woods, the chief distributes the presents; 
and those who have killed the greatest number 
of enemies in the year, — those who have given 
other proofs of valour, — those who have proved 
themselves most unwearied and skilful in the 
chace, are proportionately rewarded. The chief 
himself is always the last, whatever be his merits, 
and if nothing remain for him he utters no 
complaint. The kings among these people 
think only of their subjects, and they and their 
families are the poorest among them. If you 
see a savage, simple in his deportment, sober in 
his habits, and distinguished by a certain Spar- 
tan plainness in his attire, you may conclude 
that he is a king or a king's son. 

Wabiscihuowa, who, though he has not the 
vices of Agamemnon, has his rank and title; 
the King of kings of the Sioux was perfectly 
astonished, and would not believe his ears when 
I told him that it was not quite usual among our 
chiefs to give all to their subjects, and leave 
nothing for themselves ; that, indeed, the very 
reverse sometimes happened. "How," said he 
to me one day, " you are then more barbarous 



tlian those you call barbarians, if your civiliza- 
tion teaches you only to be either stupid slaves 
or unjust chiefs! we are right then in thinking 
you inferior to ourselves." I had the mortifica- 
tion to be obliged to hold my tongue before un- 
tutored Truth. 

Though every meeting is attended with pretty 
nearly the same forms, though the Indians al- 
ways preserve the same taciturnity, the same 
melancholy and sombre countenance, yet very 
interesting varieties and incidents sometimes 
occur. Their faces and attitudes arc far beyond 
the reach of the most picturesque or poetical 

I have seen many Hells and Purgatories, 
Limbos and Paradises, Deluges and Last Judg- 
ments. I have seen the camerc, the logo;c, the 
sale of Raphael and his scholars at the Vatican, 
and his cartoons in England. I have seen the 
frescos of Dominichino, Guido Reni, Guercino, 
Giotto, Cimabue, &c. I have seen Salvador 
Rosa's Conspiracy of Catiline, and all the most 
beautiful or most extravagant productions of the 
Flemish school ; but all that is most sublime, 
horrible, original, and grotesque in them united, 
cannot equal the strange and extraordinary mix- 
ture which is found in the faces, gestures and 
attitudes of these savages. They would alone 
suffice to characterize a new world. 




Some wrapped in skins with their faces resting 
on their hands, remind one of the gravity of the 
senators and magistrates of Greece and Rome : 
others, when addressing their father or their 
children, unfold their paliiiofi with such dig- 
nity, their attitudes are so imposing, and their 
gesticulations so energetic and expressive, that 
they would be really awfully grand, if one 
could forget that they are savages. 

I was forcibly struck with the resemblance 
of the chief Wamenitouka to that famous statue 
of Aristides in the museum at Naples, which has 
so often held me captive for hours to see, — 
almost to hear, — him harangue the corrupt 
Athenians. In the chief Cetamwacomani I be- 
held that of Cato predicting to the Romans that 
their vices, their luxury, and their avarice would 
soon reduce them to slavery. Among those who 
surround the orator, some listen with signs of 
approbation, some maintain a haughty and elo- 
quent silence, others appear to attend very little 
to what he says, and to ridicule both the listening 
father and the haranguing son. Some, resting 
their right elbow on the ground and smoking their 
pipe with an affected nonchalance, seem as if they 
despised the whole ceremony; others remaining 
neutral, like the deputies of the centre, sleep 
quietly through the business of the nation, and 
leave care for the future to those who like it. The 




1 dig- 
[ their 
, that 
if one 

faces of some are like pallettes filled with every 
variety of colour, while others, besmeared wholly 
either with white or black, look like coalheavers 
or millers; some paint their bodies with winged 
angels, others with horned devils: every man 
according to his taste or his devotion. Some 
decorate themselves with the bones, teeth and 
claws of wild beasts, the tufts of the buffalo's 
head, or the feathers of birds ; others, with 
necklaces of glass beads, with ribbons, brace- 



and crosses. Some minde the 

exotic with the indigenous; others preserve the 
naked simplicity of nature ; and these, though 
not the most grotesque, are the most interesting. 

As they are forbidden to enter the fort with 
fire-arms, they have only their bows, clubs and 
tomahawks, which render the whole scene more 
completely strange and savage. 

When the chiefs pronounce a speech, they 
makefrequently very marked pauses, at which all 
who wish to signify their approbation, call out 
ukoa ; i. e. bravo. They do the same when thfe 
interpreter recites to them, sentence by sentence, 
the speech of the agent ; if indeed they do him_ 
the honour to listen and approve it. 

Every Indian is at liberty to speak to the 
agent, as to the common father ; but as presump- 
tion and gossipping are vices unknown among 
the Red people, it rarely happens that the agent 

■ 1 





\ ' 

has to reply to any hut the chiefs, civil and 
military, he orators, or the prophets. Every 
individual may also lay complaints before him, 
either in public or private, against the traders ; 
but this is a privilege rarely used, for the In- 
dians will revenge themselves, but will not 
descend to the office of accuser. There is great 
dignity and magnanimity in the silence they 
observe with regard to the traders, who arc 
not ashamed to cheat them in every possible 
way. This is one powerful cause of their con- 
stant and encreasing hostility to civilized people. 
The Red men, who are most in contact with the 
whites, are uniformly the worst. The Red 
women are completely corrupted by their inter- 
course with the white men. They have all the 
vices of both races ; nor can they find a single 
virtue to imitate in men who come among them 
only to sate their sensuality and their avarice. 

The North West Company, that is, the En- 
glish, did worse. In the infancy of the United 
States, when they had succeeded in getting 
possession of all the trade with the Indians, they 
constantly tried to sow discord between the 
different nations, in order that the rumours of 
their ferocious wars, and the dread of the tre- 
mendous dangers, might deter all competitors 
from the fur trade ; and by this means they 
obtained the absolute monopoly of it. They 



were certainly excellent disciples of the British 

Chance, my dear Madam, is more generous 
to me than men. It throws facts and informa- 
tion in my way as assiduously as they try to 
conceal them from me. Never since this fort 
was begun, three years ago, have so many Indians 
resorted to it as this year. Within these few 
days I have likewise had the good luck to witness 
a presentation, in form, of a great band of Cypo- 
wais, composed of a number of tribes, many of 
whom had not yet done homage to the United 

Their whole camp was with them, for they 
always march with arms and baggage, women, 
children, and dogs. Their houses are wherever 
they happen to be. 

The arrival of their extraordinary flotilla was 
the most novel spectacle that could be conceived 
Never did I see the Mississippi present so busy 
a scene. Their canoes are of a very elegant 
form; they are so light and slender, that ''one 
wonders how they can carry five or six people 
their dogs, their tents, and all their moveables! 
I have seen them lifted on shore with one hand 
as easily as a basket. Rods of light wood, not 
above half as thick as my finger, form all' the 
timbering of them, and the outside is covered with 
the very thin bark of a tree. It is exactly the 


: H 




'•"I .«! 



1 ' i 

j)aj)yru.s of tlie ancients ; it splits into leaves as 
thin as j)apcr, and 1 can write npon it perfectly 
well. It is the bark of the birch. No nails, nor 
any metallic fastenings are used. The bark is 
sewed with threads of other bark, and the joints 
are then smeared with a kind of tar, which is 
very tenacious, and resists the strongest heat of 
the sun. They make it themselves of a resin 
which they extract from trees, and of some other 
ingredients : the secret of this composition is 
kept with great jealousy. 

This bark reminds one of the extremely thin 
planks with which the early Greeks faced their 
vessels, which were also very light ; and the 
descriptions we find in their poets of the ^ets 
of the Xanthus and the Simois, would apply per- 
fectly to the form of the Cypowais canoes. I 
have got them to make me a model, and to give 
me a specimen of their tar, which forms part of 
my little collection of Indian curiosities. It 
would seem that a breath would upset so frail a 
bark, and the slightest shock break it ; yet in 
such as these the savages traverse thousands of 
miles. Their tents are, I might almost say, 
portraits of their canoes turned bottom upwards. 
They stick poles in the earth arched towards 
the top, and cover them with the same bark, 
which they carry in rolls, like those of papyrus 
at Herculaneum. Their camps are accordingly 
as interesting as their fleets. 




The Cypowais is one of the most powerful 
fnclian nations, though very inferior to the 
Sioux. It must indeed necessarily be weaker, 
from its being more disi)ersed, and the confede- 
ration among its parts less perfect. These arc 
the true aborigines of the country, and their lar*- 
guage is pure Algonquiiie. 

They are scattered over those immense regions 
from lake Ontario to the lake Winepeg, near 
Hudson's Bay, a tract of about two thmisand 
miles from eas' south-east, to north-west. It is 
difficult to calculate the circumference of the 
country over which they roam. A great part of 
the Cypowais inhabit the English possessions. 
Those who came hither live in the American 
territory, on the high lands of the Mississippi. 

Though their noses are rather too flat and too 
wide, their cheek-bones prominent, and lips 
thick (like the other Indian tribes,) and their eyes 
smaller than those of the Sioux, their faces are 
by no means disagreeable. Their chests and 
shoulders are better proportioned and stronger, 
and their whole body better made. Their more 
rigorous climate and hardier life must greatly 
contribute to this difference. 

All their heads were crowned with garlands of 
flowers, leaves, grass, or the hair of different 
animals. These were the favourite Manitous, 
for their superstitions are the same as those of 
the other Red people. 


M A Nil O us. 

■ i' 

■1 vl 

ft' ^W 

^i * 

The Saukis, the Foxes, the Wincbigos, the 
Menomenis, the Sioux, and the Cypowais, all 
perhaps believe in a Great Spirit ; but there is 
not an individual among them who has not his 
peculiar Manitou, of his own choice ; either an 
animal, a tree, a plant, or a root ; and it rarely 
happens that two in a tribe have the same. 
Whether this arise from difference of taste, or 
whether they think it discreet for every man to 
have his own jod, that he may not be distracted 
and bored with die prayei., of others, I cannot 
take upon me to decide. 

One day when I was fishing, a Sioux was 
greatly offended at my asking him to get me 
some frogs for bait ; the frog, it appeared, was 
his Manitou — as among the ancient Egyptians ; 
while others of his nation roasted and ate them 
like all modern nations. An Indian never fires 
at the animal which has the honour of being his 
Manitou, even if it is a wild beast coming to de- 
vour him. I have in my possession a magnificent 
skin of a yellow bear, who was on the point of 
making a dinner of his faithful worshipper, when 
happily a Dissenter, or Noncovformist, came up 
and shot him. If ever an Indian does kill his 
Manitou by accident, he begs for pardon, and 
says, " It is better that you should have been 
killed by me than by another man, for he would 
sell your skin, whereas I shall keep it with the 




greatest devotion :" and accordingly it takes its 
station among the divinities in the medicine bag. 
The buffalo is the only animal that is spared by 
nobody; they all argue that he is the Great 
Spirit, who presents himself under this shape to 
provide for all their wants ; and indeed every 
part of the buffalo is useful to them, from the 
horns, which serve them for a thousand purposes, 
to the fibres which they use as thread. This 
doctrine is very fruitful in reflections; I leave it 
to you to make them. Let us return to the 

The assemblies of this nation in the council 
hall, were more noisy than those of the Sioux, 
because they were divided into two parties, one 
of which wished to retain the chiefs now in 
power, and the other to elect new ones. I 
should be most happy to give you some account 
of this comical and truly interesting drama, 
but I should very likely have allusions fathered 
upon me which never entered my head. I shall, 
therefore, only tell you that in the course of 
their debates I heard bits of eloquence worthy 
of Athens or of Rome;— that M. B. Constant 
never employed more resistless arguments 
against M. de Villele ;— that Peskawe descended 
from the throne with Spartan dignity, and that 
Kendouswa extended his hand to him, as he 
mounted it, with the noble air of a truly generous 






spirit. I am sometimes astonished at liiulinij 
the grand ineidcnts of ancient and modern his- 
tory in these wilds. 

General Cass, governor of Michigan territory, 
undertook, I think three years ago, an expedition 
across the lakes and country of the savages, in 
search of the sources of the Mississippi, which 
Mr Pike had lefi in great uncertainty ; and after 
fixing them at Upper Red Cedar lake, i)assed 
by this fort on his return. He was accompanied 
by some Cypowais chiefs ; and to enhance the 
glory and utility of his expedition, he used 
every etibrt to make peace between them and 
the Sioux. lie succeeded ; but the peace was, 
as usual, as transient as the smoke of the calu- 
met which celebrated it. 

Major Tagliawar, animated by a philanthropy 
which does him honour, and by a truly paternal 
love for his untutored children, took advantage 
of the great number of Cypowais now congre- 
gated here, solemnly to renew it. 

The great hall of the council was full. The 
Sioux, headed by their chiefs Catewacomani, 
Wamenitonka, and Penisehiouwa, were seated 
on the right. The Cypowais, with their chiefs 
Kendouswa, Moshomene and Pasheskonoepe, 
on the left. 

After mutual accusations and excuses con- 
cerning the infraction of the treaties ; after some 

roKJiALiTiJvs OF rill': tiieatv. 


fatherly reproofs and counsels from the Father, 
Wamcnitonka, assisted ])y a war-chief, li<rhtcd 
the great calumet of elcrmtl peace and amity. 
It devolved upon tlic Sioux to present it first, 
since it appeared they had been the first to 
j)rofane it by their perfidy. 

The grave and dignified figure of Wamcnitonka 
greatly contributed to the majesty of the cere- 
mony ; on this occasion he assumed a sacerdotal 
kind of air. He consecrated the calumet, turn- 
ing the tube first horizontally to the east and 
west, then perpendicularly to heaven and earth, 
thus invoking the Great Spirit, or the sun, and 
the good and evil spirits. He then sent it by 
the chief of his warriors, to the chief delegated 
by the Cypowais ; he gave it to Pasheskonoep^, 
the oldest chief, who, after handing it to the 
agent of government, smoked it himself, and all 
did the same in rotation, according to their 
respective ranks. I performed the part of wit- 
ness; and certainly I witnessed a monstrous 
act of perjury. The Cypowais repeated the 
same formalities towards tlie Sioux, after which 
all shook hands, as a pledge of their reciprocal 
good faith. The ceremony closed with whiskey, 
which the good Father distributed to them. 
The calumets remained as pledges of the sanctity 
of the treaty, in the hands of the two representa- 
tive chieftains, who act, I fancy, on that occasion. 








as keepers of the seals of their respective na- 

When the savages make peace without any 
foreign mediation, tlie conference is usually held 
in the forest. The plenipotentiaries of the high 
contracting parties assemble there, and the treaty 
being concluded, it is registered in hieroglypliics 
in their customary archive, /. e. on the trunk of 
a tree ; which comes to the same thing as our 
pace cclcbrata, die, &:c., loco, Sec. &c. &c. 

The peace was concluded on the 4th inst. ; — 
on the Gth,war was on the point of breaking out 
again with the greatest fury. 

Eskibugekoge, or Flat INIouth, the chief who 
holds the same rank among the Cypowais as 
AVabiscihuowa among the Sioux, did not arrive 
till the morning of the 5th. Ignorant of the in- 
tentions of the agent, he took leave of his family 
and tribe with a promise that he would never 
touch the hand of one of those dogs of Sioux; 
which meant that he would never make peace 
with them. The tirst person he met on approach- 
ing the fort, before he could be informed of what 
had passed, was Paniscihowa, who held out his 
hand, warmed with the scene of the preceding 
evening, and was met by a disdainful repulse. 

The Sioux, as ill-disposed as he was cowardly, 
immediately gave the alarm. All the Sioux 
who were still in the vicinity of the fort flocked 




together, they sent heralds at arms to the nei«rh- 
bouring encampments, and the next day they 
surrounded the camp of tlie Cypowais in great 
force. The latter had already concealed their 
women and children behind the ruins of the old 
fort, which had served as an asylum to the 
garrison while the new one was building: and 
sent a message to the Sioux that, though very 
inferior in numbers, they did not fear them, and 
steadily awaited their attack. 

At first the agent and the colonel appeared 
not to choose to take any part in their quarrel. 
They have perhaps the power of making up a 
peace among them, but not of preventing a war. 
They reflected, however, that to sufler them to 
come to open hostilities, would be to permit an 
insult to the American flag, and a violation of 
their territory, declared neutral, sacred and in- 
violable to all Indians; more especially when 
they came to treat with their Fat/tcr. They 
were therefore warned to disperse, which they 
accordingly did. 

Everything conspired against my poor notes ; 
I had already perched myself on an eminence 
for the purpose of enriching them v/ith an Indian 
battle, and behold I have nothing to write but this 
miserable article ! In the afternoon, Eskibuge- 
koge shook hands in all the requisite forms, both 
with the Sioux chiefs and with all who had a mind. 






m^ tm: 

• ,'1 ^ '^ M 

;'l « 


They smoked again perfectly m 7\'gle, — re- 
peated with great good-will and alacrity the 
libations of whiskey, and all walked away the 
best friends in the world. 

The next day it was reported that the Sioux 
had attacked the Cypowais at the falls of St An- 
thony. I instantly set out on horseback, but it 
was decreed that I was not to witness that 
extraordinary spectacle. While the serjeant 
who commanded the posts was exhorting them 
to peace, (for fear they should lay waste the 
settlement,) the express he had sent to the 
fort returned with troops, and so the affair 
ended. I had half a mind to ask them to be so 
obliging as to fight in jest, as they would not 
fight in earnest. I almost suspected that the 
savages were in a league with the gentlemen of 
the fort to disappoint me. But here one may 
sincerely say, ** All is for the best." What 
frightful carnage should I have witnessed ! 

This tragi-comedy, however, procured me 
what I stand so much in need of, — a hearty 
laugh ; and it was at the expense of the traders. 
These worthy men trembled for at least four 
days afterwards, at the recollection of the danger 
they had run, — of losing the advances they had 
made to the Indians. They thought it scandal- 
ously dishonest in them to kill one another before 
they had killed the beasts whose skins were to 



constitute the payment. And I do really believe 
that, on the day of the alarm, they sincerely 
wished they had been brave enough to go among 
the Indians and try to pacify them. 

One would say, that the pest of usurers and 
brokers, who are the curse of Europe and the 
ruin of so many young men of family, has spread 
to the forests and deserts of America. 

You will doubtless be astonished, my dear 
Madam, at the irreconcileable hatred which 
exists between these two savage nations. 1 will 
tell you all I know about it. 

Territorial claims are mere pretexts; their 
countries, or rather their worlds, are so vast, 
that there is room for all ; and they hardly ever 
meet, unless they lay in wait for each other for 
the express purpose of fighting. These wars 
are only an inheritance they have received from 
their fathers. The first thing a dying Cypowais 
recommends to his children, relatives, friends, 
and all his tribe, is to preserve perpetual enmity 
to the Sioux; who, on their side, preach the 
same sort of crusade against the Cypowais. In 
my endeavours to trace this inveterate hostility 
to its sources, I succeeded also in throwing some 
light on the emigration of the Sioux into these 

Eskibugekoge assured me that they (the Cy- 
powais) had been at war with the Sioux for 













more than three thousand moons ; with whicli 
the great Sioux, Wabiscihouwa's, statement con- 

Reckoning twelve moons to a year, as they 
do, more than three thousand moons, adding the 
complementary days, bring us pretty nearly to 
the time of the conquest of Mexico by the 
Spaniards. It was therefore, in all probability, 
at that period that the Sioux, or Dacotas, flying 
from the cruelties of the conquerors, invaded the 
country of the Cypowais, of which they have 
retained possession ; and the Cypowais, mass- 
acred or driven from their accustomed haunts, 
would naturally enough swear eternal vengeance 
on their aggressors. This sentiment, carefully 
transmitted from father to son, became a nati- 
onal one, perpetuated through all generations, 
and now blindly followed as an inspiration or a 
duty. And as revenge is the predominant 
passion of all savages, the Sioux are equally 
inveterate against the Cypowais, and carry on a 
war of instinct, equally indifferent about the 
cause or the effects. 

Another convincing proof, that the countries 
now inhabited by the Sioux, the Assiniboins, 
and other savage nations, who, like them, emi- 
grated from Mexico, formerly belonged to the 
Cypowais, is, that the mountains which separate 
these countries from New Mexico, were called the 




Cypowaiscs Mountains ; and would be called so 
to this day, if those most illustrious twpec/itiom; 
which would turn the world topsy-turvy for the 
sake of being talked of, had not re-baptized them 
under the name of the Roc/cij Moiintahis. Before 
we take leave of the Cypowais, I must tell you 
a little about their women. 

They are much better looking than the Sioux 
women, and some of them might almost be 
called pretty. Their persons are fine; their 
flesh is firmer and in better preservation, and 
their complexions less red. The cold climate 
they inhabit has nearly the same effect upon 
the men. Their mouths and teeth are almost 
beautiful. Their character appears more simple 
and less savage ; their dress is quite different, 
and very singular. 

When the Egyptians had made suflicient pro- 
gress in the art of sculpture, to detach the arms 
and legs of the statues from the block of which 
their first efforts, the Theuts or Hermes, were 
composed, they ornamented them with two bands 
hanging from the shoulders over the bosom; 
they afterwards added a third, joining horizon- 
tally to the ends of the two former. This is 
precisely the sort of thing which supports a kind 
of cuirass, of leather or cloth, which covers the 
bosom and the back of the Cypowais women. 
Their round and well-turned arms arc perfectly 





naked, and are painted with hieroglyphics to 
match their faces. Their shoes are of a more 
antique form than those we have seen ; tlieir 
coverings for the legs, and their petticoats are 
not much unlike those of the Sioux but are 
more simple. They wear a great many crosses, 
all hanging irom their nostrils. 

Their hatred to the Sioux is still more furious 
and inveterate than that of the men. This 
is easily explained. Their camps being nearly 
always taken by surprise, the poor women 
are much more exposed to cruelty and carnage 
than the men ; this has also the effect of making 
them all heroines. During the alarm of the 
6th, they all swore, with knives in their hands, 
to sell dearly their own lives and those of their 
children, whom they hung over and shielded 
with their own bodies. I was deeply affected 
at seeing, even among savages, the force of the 
tenderest and strongest of all human affections — 
maternal love. 

All rtvoir, dear Madam, — I wish it may be 
farther on ; — but I doubt it. 


Fort St Peter, on the Upper Mi.ssis.sippi, 

June 28///, 1823. 

This is my third letter to you dated from this 
phice; a sufficient indication, my dear Countess, 
of the difficulties and impediments which I still 
experience in my progress. 

Major Tagliawar had led me to entertain the 
hope that we should have proceeded together 
up the river St Peter, which has never yet been 
explored, the sources of which are occupied by 
the most wild and powerful tribes of the Siom\ 
and as yet only vaguely defined ; while the 
surrounding territory abounds in buffalos, the 
hunting of which furnishes the genuine sports- 
man with the most interesting as well as curious 
diversion. It was my intention to proceed 






thonco towards llio sources of the Mississippi, 
wliit'h arc still ;il)solii(i'ly unknown; hut Mr 
Taj^liuwar now (oris liis health weak, and can 
prociH'd no farther. I cannot help ("aneyini;^ that, 
it is intended to lull n»y projects into lethar<;y. 
I am not, however, so easily juished into inac- 
tion and forget III I ncss. My constancy against, 
dithciilties perpetually increases. The lists are 
always open ; I I'eel as yet firm in the saddle, 
and shall sustain, he assured, many a shock and 
conflict, before I surrender. In the meantime, 
my dear Countess, let us lake a social excur- 
sion among the neighbouring tribes, t«) learn 
something of the manners and customs of these 
Indians. Let nothing stop or discourage our 

Let us recur to danciUiX, \vhich among the 
Indians is a formality of iudij-.pensablc import- 
ance, as witii it they open and conclude every 
description of business, ])ublic and private, civil 
and sacred. It has part in every transaction, 
like the priest in our own country, like gas in 
chemistry, like bleeding among the disciples of 
our celebrated Thomasini. 

In order to avoid useless repetition as much as 
possible, it may be advisable to mention, cmcc 
for all, that their instrumental music is always 
the same, and that its tone is seldom changed. 
With respect to what is properly called vocal 


21 1 

hill Mr 
111(1 can 
inu^ tli;il 
ilo inac- 

lists arc 

ock mid 
I cxcur- 
() learn 
of these 

age our 

onu^ the 
e every 
te, civil 
:e gas in 
ciples of 

much as 
>n, once 
; always 
id vocal 

music, Ihcy have uotjiing (li;it ,.:,n |,c cjill,.,) 
such; for. when Ihey pretend t(, sing, th<y 
either bawl or scream. 

Their instriimenls consist of tahois, a species 
of castanets, and small leather or parchment. 
«lol)es, conl;iinnig within them a few grains of 
l»i»id seeds. |<:;,(:h dancer holds one „r ihesc 
globes ill his right hand, ugituling it as he 
(lances, in order to mark tin; cadence. f<Vom 
the soinid produced hy them thr-y iuc culled 

The war-danc(! can he pcirlormed only by 
warriors. It is this which they exhibit before 
the agent, when they come in a body to make 
him a formal visit. 

Women and old men station themselves be- 
liind the performers, inid Join chorus in the 
cantich; which each person present utters in ac- 
c:om|)animent to the instruments. 7'o give yon 
any idea, however, of the clatter and hubl)id) of 
music thus produced, it Monld be necessary to 
be either an Indian or a Jew. 

Tliey open the dance by advancing in a spa- 
cious area, in two files if the party be Jarge, ])ut 
in one if it happen to be small. A child 
advances before them with its castanets, or 
cicilcoics, in its hand. This is the dreaming or 
vision-visited child, in whom good and evil spi- 
rits sometimes pass the night, making him the 
VOL. n. 






i^ . ' 

depositary of their good or evil presages. The 
prophet or augur of the tribe collects these pre- 
sages every morning, and, like the rest of his pro- 
fession, whether in ancient or in modern times, 
converts them dextrously to his own purposes ; 
— and while moving in the dance behind the 
files of the performers, this important personage 
explains to the brave exhibitants that the Alani- 
tous, the good or evil spirits, are well acquainted 
with their valour, and engage to crown it with 
everlasting glory, if they remain constant in the 
sentiments of huli ed and vengeance against their 
enemies. After this, my dear Countess, you 
will see how difficult it is to pronounce on the 
nature and character of their religion ! 

Animated by this consoling and heart-invi- 
gorating promise, the dancers form in close 
circle, and set up a sort of hoarse bellowing, 
while the inspired child, the young demi-deity, 
with eyes bent down to the earth, utters some- 
thino; which none of those to whom it is ad- 
dressed comprehend, and which indeed is not 
understood either by himself or the prophet: 
for the child is merely the organ through which 
the JManitous speak ; and oracles, you are well 
aware, are never meant to be clear and intel- 
ligible to all the world. The moment the child's 
eyes are raised from the ground, che whole com- 
pany of these fanatics set up a series of clumsy 


es. The 
liese pre- 
)f his pro- 
;rn times, 
mrposes ; 
ihind the 
[he Alani- 
^n it with 
ant in the 
linst their 
tess, you 
ce on the 

in close 
ters some- 
it is ad- 
eed is not 
I prophet: 
ugh which 
u ?:ce well 
and intel- 
the child's 
k'hole com- 
of clumsy 


and antic leapings, marking the cadence with 
renewed and still more vigorous bellowings. 
So violent are their movements and contortions 
that, in a short time, they absolutely reek with 
perspiration, and the force with which their feet 
strike the ground is such, as to leave marks 
similar to those made by the evolutions of a re- 
giment of cavalry. 

Under the influence of this mystic and gloomy 
paroxysm, they devote themselves to hate and 
vengeance, invoking the Mamtou, in whose pre- 
sence, in the person of the child, they then 
consider themselves, to witness their sincerity. 

Their music appears to be somewhat mono- 
tonous, but still, notwithstanding its uniformity 
IS not destitute of the power to rouse or to melt 
the soul; and, from its very extravagance it 
derives a capability of exciting in a high degree 
different passions. Indeed, both their music ana 
their dance strongly recall '. ose of antiquity. 

Like them, the primitive Greeks had their 
parchment giubes and their castanets ; the lat- 
ter, made precisely in the same manner as those 
of the Indians, of shells or the bones of animals. 
The most popular music of the Greeks was 
formed, like that of the Indian tribes, by the 
union of the voice and instruments ; and it was 
expressly this description of music which con- 



5i ' 





stituted an indis|)ensablc part of the worship 
they ])ai(l to tlicir divinities. 

Like the Romans, they mark the eadenec 
by a kind of little bells fixed to their feet, — 
podarii, pcdicii/arii ; and, like the same people, 
they have also their Cori/p/icus, in the Indian 
who strikes the tabor or tamborine ; and also 
their nKDiiiduclor in the person who regulates the 
dance. One circumstance to be observed, mo- 
dern and peculiar, is, that the Indian mamuluctor 
carries in his hand a large whip, like a wag- 
goner, or like a negro-driver in the southern 
States of the Union. 

These devotees of Terpsichore distinguish 
themselves also by the emblems of Mars. They 
all carry their bow, quiver, and arrows ; as well 
as a plume of feathers on their head, the exclu- 
sive distinction of warriors of renown. The 
feathers are from a bird which the Canadians 
call kil/iou, and the Indians wawcml-h'i. 

These birds are so rare and so highly valued 
by the Indians in general, that whoever has the 
good fortune to kill one of them, receives the 
formal compliments of the whole camp on his 
success, and is entitled to the privilege of wear- 
ing one of its plumes. 

Every warrior is authorised to wear as many 
of them as he has killed of his enemies ; and 






c worship 

eir i'cct, — 
nc people, 
he Iiulian 
, and also 
;uhites the 
rvcd, iiio- 
ke a wivj:- 

ars. They 
s ; as well 
tlie exclii- 
wn. The 

lily valued 
er has the 
ceives the 
nip on his 
e of wear- 

r as many 
iiies ; and 


every time he destroys one of these birds, lie 
adds a plume to his previous honours. These 
feathers have eertainly nothing very beautiful 
about them ; but I have attaehed a value to 
them on the principle of the Peruvians, who felt 
no regard or anxiety for gold till they perceived 
the Europeans so eager to accpurc it ; and \ 
have directed my efforts with the desired suc- 
cess to obtain some of them. 

The Indians dance at marriages, on whicli 
occasions the women dance also, and with a 
grace and agility which you would not expect 
from their appearance. 

But males and females never dance together 
excepting in their religious solemnities. Indian 
hauteur condemns the fair sex to contempt and 
humiliation as decidedly as we regard it with 
the most ardent esteem and devotion. 

It is unquestionably this contempt for wo- 
men which retards the civilization and increases 
the ferocity of these unfortunate tribes. The 
man who feels no moral sensibility, no moral 
attachment, towards that being whom heaven 
has destined to participate in our consolations 
and our diificulties, in our smiles and our best 
affections ; towards the being by whom we are 
born in pain and reared with extrcine tenderness 
and self-denial, — who enables a man to live again 
in his posterity, and whose graces, and love, 




DA NCI. Ul I'l, A( r. 

and ^cMiuinc iVicndship, constitute the very ex- 
tract and essence of human happiness — such a 
man must inevitably be a barbarian or a brute, 
and liis soul dead to every sentiment of virtue. 

When they smoke the calumet of friendship 
with a strancfer on a visit to them, with an am- 
bassador from another tribe or from a civilized 
state, whose object is to ne«^ociatc a peace or 
any description of treaty, they introduce it by a 
dance and a ceremony, which nuist be consi- 
dered as the supjiosed means of consecrating' the 
calumet before it is presented to the honoured 
guest. They dance round a sacred fire, and 
purify it l)y the raj^id motion given it by each 
person in succession over the flames or in the 
air, after which it is delivered into the hands of 
tlic chief, who then presents it to the stranger 
with all due formality. This is the dance which 
appears to me to display most dignity and ex- 
pression The war- dance is terrible. 

Before marching to meet the enemy, the 
whole number of warriors form in a circle, fully 
armed. The chief addresses them by recalling 
to their recollections the exploits of their ances- 
tors, those performed by themselves, and even, 
witlu)ut overstepping the bounds of a modest 
pride, his own. Tie excites them by a rude but 
powerful eloquence to intrejiidity, indignation, 
and carnage. To increase the imj)ression upon 

\VAH-I)A NCi;. 


ic vory (v\- 
ss^ — siicli a 
31' a brute, 
^i' virtue. 
til an ani- 
a civiJizcd 
peace oi 
CO it by a 

be consi- 
nUing the 

Hre. and 
t by each 
:>«• in the 

liands of 

cc which 

and c\- 

iiiy, the 
;Ie, fully 
»' ances- 
id even, 
nde but 
n U])()n 

their minds, lie advances into the midst of the 
circle, ])randishes liis club or tomahawk with an 
air of menace and fury, and strikes with the 
utmost violence at a human fifj^ure sketched in 
their rough maimer on the ground, or at the 
head of some animal, whichever it may be, re- 
|)resentin<j;- the figure 0,1' the head of the enemy. 
The whole body of warriors, performing around 
him the dance of cannibals, imitate his examj)le ; 
and the figure or the head soon disa[)pears under 
the |)onderous and fatal blows successively le- 
velled at it. They then assume all the fero- 
cious and cruel attitudes with which they are 
habituated to rush upon the enemy. They wield 
their firelocks, if they hapi)en to have any, their 
bows, their cutlasses, with the same rapidity 
and ardour as if the enemy were act.ially ])efore 
them. It often hapjKMis, however, that under 
this convulsive excitement the l)lows meant for 
the enemy are actually directed against a friend, 
and that the first blood drawn is not from the 
enemy, but from their own party. 

A bow, which they denominate the bow of 
medicine, or the bow o!' the Afanitous, and which 
is kept hung up in the Great Medicine-hut, 
closes the ceremony, by Ijeing successively 
passed through the hands of all the actors in the 
scene. I have a very beautiful one in my pos- 





UUKADl r I. I>ANC I.. 

On returning from war, dancing again takes 
])laec; and if the spectator be not liiniself an 
Indian, tlie exhibition on this occasion is abso- 
lutely a})palling. 

They dance round pikes and poles, at the ends 
of which are hung heads, ears, tongues, hearts, 
and scalps, witli the still pendent hair of men, 
women, and children ; and the wretched ca|)tives, 
whom they have spared either for the purpose 
of slavery or sacrifice, as was the practice with 
nations of the most remote antiquity, are con- 
demned to witness this scene of horror, recalling 
to their minds massacre and carnage — present- 
ing before their eyes the bleeding remains of 
their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, 
and husbands ! 

Lastly, they dance also on occasion of sacri- 
fices, both public and ])rivate ; when they give 
entertainments ; and when they administer me- 
dicine to the sick. 

I^ublic sacrifices are considered indispensable 
by the Indians when they hold their grand 
assemblies for deliberating on the question of 
]ieace or war. Here also Ave trace the resem- 
blance to antiquity. 

The ceremony uniformly commences with smok- 
ing the sacred pipe; and, previously to forming 
their determination, they invoke their Maiiitoius, 
ofiVrinu- them in sacrifice some defective skin or 

ilia lakes 
insfir till 
I is iibso- 

tlic ends 
, hearts, 
of men, 
ice with 
ire eon- 
ains of 

i" sacri- 
3y give 
er mc- 



tion of 



kin or 


sACiM I i( i:s. 

24 {) 

rafsred ruir. It, seems as if llic Indians had 
adopted the maxim of Lyeurgus, who always 
otiered to the gods victims of little vahie, that 
the S|)artans might ever retain the means of 
honouring their deities. It is certain that the 
Indians neither enrich tlie altar nor its ministers. 
Their divinities appear to prefer |)urity of heart 
to the muTiher and cost of sacrifices. 

The gods of antic[uity, with their various 
claims and ])retensions, would fare but ill in the 
worship of the Indians; for they have no bulls, 
whether black or white, for Jupiter ; nor cows 
or heifers for his stately consort ; nor sows, bar- 
ren or prolific, for his venerable mother ; nor 
lambs, stags, pigeons, rams, jngs, or bucks, nor 
gilde(' horns, &c., for the worthless mob of his 
illegitimate or legitimate offspring; neither 
calves of gold nor calves of lead. 

These sacrifices are offered by every Indian 
according to his own particular temper or ca- 
price : some offer them to the good Mon'iloiis, 
others to the evil ; some to one particular divi- 
nity, and others to another; and some probably 
without having a very clear idea to which or to 
whom : and here again we might trace ancient 
and modern resemblances. 

They perform sacrifices also in spring and in 
autumn, but most certainly not, as some have 
pretended, to Ceres or to Bacchus, for the 




S I 

t; I 



PUHLU sACUiiu i;s. 

Indians never rear the vine or cnltivate tlie land, 
and the names just mentioned are (J reck to 
tliem ; hut their ohjeets are self- purification, as 
has been already noticed, in sprinj;-; and, in au- 
tunni, ohtainino; from their respective Mumtous 
success in the chase durinuc winter. 

The scene of public sacrifices is always on 
the bank of a river. This is not done for the 
])urpose of furnishing a spectacle to the Naiads, 
but from an ap|)rehension of surprise by the 
enemy. 'I'his also 1 consider as the true reason 
for their encampin<»' either on the ban'is of 
rivers or in tlu^ open country ; as thus they 
have time for llight or for eml)arkation when they 
perceive their enemy at a distance, and feel 
themselves not stronj;- enough to resist him. 
What has tended to confirm me in this ()j)inion, 
although disclaimed by the Indians, (who, like 
all other men, are desirous to conceal their weak- 
nesses) is, that wherever they can discover a 
tongue of land between a river and a marsh, there 
they invariably encamp. 

The stage of a private sacrifice is the tent of 
the individual who performs it. 1 was a spectator 
of one of these sacrifices, and enquired what \vas 
the motive of it. 1 was answered that it was an 
inspiration, but that it was impossible to reveal 
it. You must, therefore, my dear Countess, tiy 
to content yourself with the same answer. 


IMMVATi: SA( l«ll' ICI'S. 


The tent is cleurud of all tlu', ra<»s and tatters, 
the letid state of wliieli niiglit present an ill-sinel- 
liiifjfodonr to the divinity. Even the |)r<)fane cin- 
ders are removed, and a new and hallowed fire 
purifies it by tiic burning of a few herbs or roots, 
or a little tol)acco, consecrated to him by a vow. 
The peristyle, (dr'unn, and the Hoor or ground of 
the hut, are strewed with foliage and How(ms, 
like the tem))le of Vesta, or our modern churches. 
The ceremony concludes with dancinu'. 

None of tlu; sacred festivals of the Indians are 
celebrated in the winter months ; during which 
they are wholly occupied in hunting, in feasting 
on the animals they have killed, and in j^aying, 
with their fins, the various traders who follow 
them like so many haipies through woods and 
forests, and endure a life which only the love of 
money can render sui)])ortable. 

I have been present at one of their dinners. 
As there was a mystic solemnity cojmected with 
it, every individual was obliged to eat, or make 
some other eat, the allowance set before lum ; 
to leave a single morsel on the bark trencher on 
which the repast was served, would have been 
an insufferable insult to the divinity to which it 
was consecrated. One of the guests, after de- 
vouring in a twinkling all that was upon his own 
plate, swallowed nearly the whole of what was 
placed for me, the greatest i)art of the allowances 





I \ |)l.\ N HAN(il I I i\(;s. 

of two otHccrs of tlu' fort, and il' tlu' intciprck-r 
had not possessed tlio a[)|)i'tit(' Ik' did, and wonid 
havi' ^\\c\\ liirn (as wi' did) a little tobacco or 
powder, he could have induced the cormorant 
to swallow his also. 

It is ditlicidt to inia<»inc, u\y dear (U)untcss, 
\vhat these Indian bodies are capable of devonr- 
iiii;* and di{4estini>- in a day : sometimes they will 
not lie down to sleep till they have swallowed 
everything' c^atable that they possess. The In- 
dian, in order to render iiimself as free and 
independant as possible, seems desirous to throw 
otrall anxiety and care even tor the ensuini*- day. 
They are capable of devouring- like wolves, and 
of fasting like camels ; jicrhaps, like the last- 
mentioned animals, they have also the faculty of 

The entertainment concluded with a dance ; 
and the women likewise performed theirs ; but 
the sister and daughter of the chief, who are fiir 
from being the plainest of the tribe, were not 
present, and did not make their appearance any 
})art of the day. They were said to be unclean, 
which was explained by a reference to periodical 
affections, sup[)osed to correspond with lunar 
renovations. During- the influence of these affec- 
tions, both wives and daughters strictly withdraw 
from society, abstaining from the slightest con- 
tact with the huts or utensils ; exhibiting- in this 





rospcrt a corrcspoiKlcncc witli the practice not 
only of piofiiiu' anlicpiity, but of the Old Testa- 

A sick leniaU' expressed a desire; to have the 
ma/icinc a(hninislered to her, and tlie doctor 
assented to lier request. Tliis is a dance diH'erent 
from what yon saw at tlie Uocki/ ll'wcr. 

A number of those who had been previously 
initiated in this mystery were spee(bly broui^ht 
toi^elher, and formed a circle about tlu; patient. 
Herbs, bark of" trees, and roots, were thrown 
iij)on her by them as tlu^y danced around, and 
every dancer })lew on those parts of the body 
su|)p()sed to be affected with tlie tube of a pij)C, 
which in all circumstances and ceremonies is an 
object of veneration, and indeed a Man'iUm. They 
then shook her, and the doctor blew into her 
mouth to drive out the evil s[)irit by which she 
was possessed ; tlie hitter, liowever, proved 
stronger than his own, and in the midst of al! 
this infernal bustle and racket the poor wonian 
died. This was, with implicit faith, ascribed to 
her evil spirit. When the patient recovers it is 
ascribed to miraculous power. 

Although the Indians allege that the sole 
object of this dance is to remove the disease of 
the patient, yet I thought \ could trace in the 
ceremony the projiclscerc of our ritual, and the 
cwtremum .spiritum ore CAc'iperc of the Romans. 




I ' * 'f 

W^ul if 



Tliiis {\\v, my (li' Countess, you linvc svvw 
not a liitU' ol' \\w fhailutiuiism ainoiiL;- \\\vsv In- 
dian physicians ; tlu'y aiv by no nu>iuis, liowovcr, 
(U'slitutt* ol" tlu' knowledijfo of inrdicincs, or of 
successful remedies; and eertaiidy tliey kill 
fewiM' of their patients than ours, at least wiu-n 
superstition i»nd Ju^-i^Ieiy do not form part ol" 
their o|)eralions. 

Their medii-anients consist entirely of what 
the i^reat piiysicians of anti((uity, Chiron and 
Ivscniapius, exclusively employed in short, of 
simples, l-lxperience was, with these great lights 
and ornaments of the profession, the sole guide ; 
and so it is with the Indians. When Hippocrates 
began to mix theories with the praetiee of me- 
dicine, its healing power began to wane ; im- 
]iosturc usurped the ])lace of simplicity and 
wisdom ; and contradictory reasonings and doc- 
trines involved the clear evidence of facts in the 
darkness of sectarian and homicidal systems, 
which ravage the world to the ])rescnt day. 

There arc certain herbs and roots made use of 
by the Indian physicians which arc ascertained 
to be highly salutary and of astonishing eihcacy. 
Every head of a family, moreover, every old 
woman, indeed almost every individual Indian, 
possesses a collection of medicinal roots and 
herbs, which they denominate the jm'dic'nw bag, 
and wdiich they regard as the sanctuary of a 




imnilKM- (»r divinities. 'VUv .lews, the (irccks, 
jiiul tin; Koiiiaiis, posscssi'd their jiiniilets; Ihc 
AiJihs and 'rurks have them still; and the 
Ne^Toes |)()ssess soniethin^r ,,(• the same kind 
in their,>,'77,v-i,'7v.v. Wv jnive onr ba^rs of relics, 
the contents of which are more ninnerons than 
the roots of the Indians. At (!olo<rne, as I for- 
merly mentioned to you, I saw in a sin^de \)i\ir, 
St Ursula with her itleven thousand virt,nns, the 
three royal IVla|.|:i, and a consideral)le numherof 
other matters e(|uallyholy and ellicacious. 

The Indians cartifully preserve this hat,' in 
their huts; and when on a njarch, or (uioaned in 
war, they are never without it. They consider 
it indeed as a sort of I^alladiuni. 

They possess remedies for every sj)ecics of 
disease, includin^^ even si|)hilitic ones. For 
even the Indians are not without their J.aises 
and Phrynes; nor indeed, however deplorable 
it may be, without their Antinouses and Adrians. 

They are accpiainted botli with the higii and 
low systems of surgery ; the last of which is 
exercised even by women. They bleed their 
patient, or, to give a better idea of the process, 
they lacerate his skin with a knife, or a 
sharpened bone, and sometimes even with a 
gun-flint; then, applying the large end of a 
horn to the incision, they suck the blood thiough 
the other end, discharging it from their mouths 




:l H 

as successive repletions require it, till they 
have drawn the quantity prescribed. Wounds, 
sprains, «Scc. are all healed by the application 
of natural simples, ai)plied internally, or by 
cataplasm or lotion. 

They despise our physicians generally, yet 
regard with great deference the one residing at 
the fort, who has cured a considerable num- 
ber of them after they had exhausted their own 
medicine-bags. Indeed, it is scarcely possible 
that he should be without merit, as he is to- 
tally Without presumption. I have been in- 
formed that, in the course of the last year, after 
having effected a cure of some difficulty, the 
chief of the tribe among whom he resided en- 
treated him with great earnestness to leave 
■sowcih'i/ig of his ract among them, and that the 
means offered for the accomplishment of this 
end were worthy of his acceptance. I should 
have considered this statement as fabulous, if I 
had not heard from unquestionable authority 
that the first negro seen in these territories re- 
ceived & similar invitation from the Indians. 
They regarded him as an evil spirit or devil ; 
and conceived that if they could but succeed in 
having a family of the breed in their society, 
the other demons would fraternise with them, 
or at least would never venture to molest them. 
You recollect, my dear Countess, my former 

H Kf 

i»„, k ^ 

HI they 

, or by 

lly, yet 
iding- at 
ie niim- 
leir own 
e is to- 
een in- 
ar, after 
Ity, the 
[led en- 
to leave 
that the 

of this 

lis, if I 
ries re- 

devil ; 
ceed in 

: them, 



remark, that the Indians have more respect for 
devils than for angels. 

After exhibiting such a mass of superstition 
and extravagance ; after displaying such a 
jumble of credulity and of divinities, what can 
be said of their religion ? How is it possible 
to form it into a system? Amidst all their 
ridiculous ceremonies, and absurd and often 
contradictory doctrines, amidst all the multi- 
plicity and respective peculiarities oH\\q\y spirits, 
we are not without difficulty led to conjecture 
that the Indians acknowledge one supreme being. 
The Kitechi-Manitoii of the Cj/poivals, and the 
Taifgo- Wakoon of the NardowMes,ov W\QSioiLv ;— 
the Great Spirit seems to be the sun ; but it is 
not known whether they adore it only as the 
emblem of a God, or as that God himself. 

1 am at length then, my dear Countess, arrived 
at the point where your curiosity has been long 
expecting me, and which I have not reached 
without hesitation and apprehension; for we 
have before us a question of somewhat difficult 
solution, whatever facility a number of writers 
may have attached to it. Book-m ikers have the 
art of turning everything to account, while a 
plain observer, like myself, possesses no such 
advantage. Professed travellers often obtain by 
their investigations a mightv name, which confers 
on them the reputation of little less than infalli- 
VOL. ir. g 

i i 






i I 

"»■•• ?l 

I i I 

bility, while such a superficial skctcher as myself 
can scarcely screen himself from the charj^e of 
incompetence. However sorry I should be to 
bewilder you in the mazes of speculation, 
the worst that I can accuse myself of on the 
subject on which I am entering will be, that I 
have added to the number of conjectures. I 
will therefore proceed to give you my thoughts 
on the origin of the first possessors of this vast 

Different authors have brought them hither 
from all the different parts of the world. There 
is no virgin land now in existence to which their 
origin can be ascribed, unless it be Botany Bay; 
under the banners, therefore, of one or other of 
these learned guessers, I have long foreseer the 
necessity of erdisting. 

I was at first induced to join with those who 
derived them from the Jews ; for it must be 
admitted that hat nation, ill-used and perse- 
cu^'^d as it has been by the whole world, has 
some reason for boasting, as it does, of giving 
birth to all the nations, as well as to nearly 
all the religions, of mankind. It seemed im- 
possible for me to doubt that by so doing I 
should be building on an impregnable founda- 
tion. But this hypothesis is too general, and 
perhaps evasive. It is necessary to specify and 
detail : T ado|)ted, therefore, the idea of those 



s myself 
harge of 
;d be to 
on the 
!, that I 
ures. I 
:his vast 

n. hither 
ich their 
other of 
seer the 

ose who 
must be 
\ pcrse- 
rld, has 
f giving 
lied im- 
doing I 
;ral, and 
icify and 
of those 

who deduce the origin of these Indians from 
Asia. And indeed a variety of circumstances 
concur to authorise iL 

Their resemblance in numerous respects to 
the Asiatic tribes ; their principal divinity, the 
sun, worshipped alike by the Guebres, Tibetians, 
Indians, Japanese, Chinese, and various others ; 
the facility of passing to this country from the 
Asiatic territories by the narrow streights of 
Behring, while immense oceans roll between it 
and the two other quarters of the globe ; all 
these circumstances, it must be allowed, speak 
strongly in favour of the Asiatic origin ; and a 
new discovery of the highest interest must be 
considered as affording evidence nearly amount- 
ing to conviction. 

The skeletons of mammoths which have been 
found in the states of Kentucky, and Missouri, 
and other parts of America, have been ascer- 
tained to resemble j)recisely those which have 
been found in Siberia and the eastern parts of 

The pens and brains of many men of science 
were put in exercise upon the subject before the 
museum of St Petersburg had informed the 
south of Europe that similar remains had been 
found in Asia. They imagined at first th^.t the 
mammoths discovered in America were ele- 
phants which had migrated from Africa; but it 




% . 

is now universally admitted that those mam- , 
moths are elephants of Asiatic orighi. 

You perceive therefore, that this very in- 
teresting discovery in the animal kingdom has 
been also eminently valuable, by throwing- light 
on the origin of the nations of America. I 
availed myself of it with no little eagerness in 
order to corroborate my conjecture of their 
being derived from Asia. I had indeed con- 
sulted the genealogists, and nearly fixed on the 
individual son of Noah, whom the American 
tribes might look up to as their ancestor. I had 
almost obtained, as I thought, decisive and satis- 
factory evidence on the subject, when a new 
incident threw me into new uncert-ainty. 

Some chiefs, from whom I endeavoured to 
learn from what ^^^ their ancestors sprung, 
allege that, if not pre-Adamites, as some civi- 
lized nations have actually professed to be, they 
are at least Antediluvians. They stated to me, 
with an air of confidence that, " when worlds 
were overwhelmed by a tremendous deluge, 
their own was spared ; and that while a wicked 
race was totally cut off, they beheld the sun 
rise every day from the bosom of those waters 
in which it had perished." The presumption 
seems not a little in their favour, when we 
consider that, as God bestowed on Noah only 
three sons, for the re-peopling of Asia, Africa, 




ery iii- 
om has 
iig light 
ica. I 
•ness ill 
)f their 
3d con- 
l on the 
. I had 
id satis- 
. a new 

)ured to 


ne civi- 

be, they 

1 to me, 

I worlds 


I wicked 

the sun 

;e waters 


/hen we 

Dah only 

, Africa, 



and Europe, it seems to be a fair inference that 
America was not included iri the plans of his 
vengeance; as in that case he would have given 
the patriarch four. 

You must extricate yourself, my dear friend, 
from this difficulty as well as you can. For my 
own part, I could merely communicate to you 
all I know and all I think upon the subject; and 
in good truth, after all tliat has been said, it is 
a little mortifying to find that one knows no- 
thing.— We will now return to the camps and 
huts which we had left. 

The government of the Indians is regulated 
merely by usages, which are, however, very 
frequently disregarded. 

Each body of Indians constitutes a tribe. 
Each tribe, as you have already perceived, has 
its civil chief, wlio is hereditary as long as the 
tribe considers the honour to be merited ; it has 
also a military chief, whose elevation is solely 
the consequences of his services. 
-' Every father of a family is chief of his own 
hut: if that habitation contain two or three 
families, the presidency attaches to seniority; 
but the chiefs of huts are frequently wholly dis 
regarded, and every individual does just as he 
pleases. Sons have, generally speaking, no 
respect for their fathers, and fathers no atlec- 
tion for their son.s. The ap])arcnt agitation and 





(;£Ni:»AL roi'XCM.s. 


contortions of i;ricl' whicli luc rivqucntly dis- 
phiyc'd by Indians in ciisrs ot' death, arc rather 
conventional than sinccri*. Thi^rc is IVequcntly 
lonnd among' tlicnt sonic particnhir cliicf wh(xsc 
talents or rcpntation give liini considerable in- 
fluence over other tribes, and even over the 
Avliole nation. 

As each nation, band, or tribe, has a distinct 
and peculiar name, so has it likewise a parti- 
cular mark or I'mbleni to distin<>uish it — as an 
eagle, a panther, a bear, or a bufl'alo ; and 
they exliibit them in their hieroglyj)hics at 
general or particular councils. 

General councils consist of all the chiefs, both 
civil and military, of the orators, prophets, doc- 
tors, diviners, cS:c. of all the tribes of the nation : 
particular councils, or those of the tribe, are 
formed also out of all the above-named descrip- 
tions in the tribe ; and, in addition, of one mem- 
ber of every family. 

}5ut ^ve ah\ ays come round again to the same 
point; for the ^vhole of this hierarchy and all 
these councils are frequently found to terminate 
in nothino". The Indian knows nothing of sub- 
ordination, whether civil or military: every 
man lives in the manner and the place he likes 
best ; goes to war or stays behind according 
to his owi^ fancy, continues on ihe scene of war- 
fare, or returns from it at his own good plea- 




ly dis- 


hlc iii- 

cr tlie 

L purti- 
— as an 
» ; and 
lies at 

is, l)t)tli 
Ls, doc- 
nation : 
be, are 
e mem- 

le same 
and all 
of sub- 
le likes 
of war- 
id plea- 

sure, lie is so jealous of his liberty, that the 
slightest a[)p(uiranec of eon.mand or dependatiee 
excites oHence and irritation. 

As they possess no other ])roperty than the 
four rags which constitute their hut, and the 
snares and weapons witli which they carry on 
war against beasts and men ; and as they never 
dispute about the possession of a territory for 
whicii they have no use, they feel no occasion 
for distributive laws ; and, in fact, have none. 
And, as vengeance is at once their code and their 
judge, they dispense also with all laws repres- 
sive of malignity and violence. 

Every Indian is the executioner of the man 
who has committed an offence against himseli" 
or against his family. No such public officer of 
justice therefore is required. The offender 
who dies under the arm of vengeance is never 
avenged ; as were this not the case, vengeance 
would follow vengeance, and discord succeed to 
discord, till in a short time the whole nation 
would be extirpated by its own members. 

The homicidal offender is sometimes seized in 
the very act of guilt, and delivered up to the 
family of the slaughtered victim ; sometimes he 
delivers himself up voluntarily, and receives the 
mortal stroke of the avenger with the same 
coolness and indifference with which it is in- 




/i .! 

! li 



Sometimes he Hies from the rage oi' his pur- 
suers to distant regions; but it is seldom that he 
eseapes falling by their hands sooner or later. 
They have an energy and perseverance which 
impel them onward in the pursuit through the 
whole of the Indian world : they rush in search of 
him even into the midst of their enemies ; and, 
in many cases, these enemies will grant a truce 
on an occasion that calls up the universal sym- 
pathy. In some instances the avengers have 
been treated by these enemies with liberal hospi- 
tality, and permitted to sacrifice their victim in 
the sight and in the tent of these previously 
confirmed and inveterate foes. 

It seldom happens that the offender defends 
himself against the attack of him whom he has 
wronged ; even in cases in which he has fled to 
avoid his vengeance, or in which he would be 
capable of effectually resisting it. The manner 
of accomplishing their vengeance is regulated 
entirely by the grief felt for the loss sustained, 
and by the degree of the aven,ger's ferocity. 

In the exercise of their vengeance they fre- 
quently surpass the cruelty of a Nero, a Cali- 
gula, or a Maximin. Sometimes even children 
themselves take part in it. They pierce the 
victim with pointed and lacerating pieces of 
wood, tear ofl' pieces of his skin, and bite off 
parts of his flesh. Even women (and I state the 

( *, 

CKULLIV Ol' 1111:1 1{ KXKCIJ riON'S. 


lis |)iir- 
that he 
)r later, 
iigli the 
earcli of 
3 ; and, 
a truce 
al sym- 
rs have 
1 hospi- 
ctini in 


he has 

fled to 

mid be 





ley fre- 
a Cali- 
ce the 
!ces of 
jite off 
vte the 



fact witli deep regret) sometimes engage in this 
inhuman work, and shew themselves the most 
relentless of the tormentors. No one, however, 
considers the work inhuman, but, on the con- 
trary, it is deemed a most incumbent and sacred 

The martyr not unfrequcntly expires without 
having uttered a single sigh : sometimes he even 
stimulates and exasperates the rage of his exe- 
cutioners. What a contrast is tluis exhibited in 
the character of tlie Indian, who at times dis- 
plays no equivocal symptoms of cowardice ! 
And, even in the scene we are contemplating, 
cowardice in the executioners is contrasted with 
the firmest constancy in their victim. 

If the homicide has taken the life of another 
solely in order to preserve his own, it sometimes 
happens that the afiair is arranged by a family 
treaty, which is always sealed with presents on 
the part of the homicide : his life however is in 
perpetual danger. 

What has been stated in the few last pages, 
contains nearly everything that constitutes what 
is called government among the Indians, and is 
common to all the different nations of them. 

After having viewed the dying Indian, let us 
now consider him in the state of actual death, 
and proceed to follow him to the grave. 

The deceased, dressed, or, to speak more cor- 






i I 



I • i' 

i > 

t • 

rectly, covered, as he generally was durini^ life, 
])laced ill a sitting attitude upon a mat or skin 
in tiic middle of liis lint, with all his weapons at 
his side; his face is turned towards the east, and 
decked and oinamentcd most elaborately. 

All his relations are seated around him, and 
for a certain time observe a ])rofound silence, 
exhibiting countenances indicative at once of 
seriousness and grief. Each person then ad- 
dresses him, some in pathetic tones but with- 
out tears, others more emphatically but still 
cahnly, and all uttering some eulogium on his 
virtues, or some expression of regret for his loss. 

1 will just give you a sketch of what appeared 
most interesting in the account given by the 
interpreter of these addresses. 

"Where are you, my beloved husband ? You 
are present, indeed, but you speak not to me. 
You are now entirely in the society of the 
spirits, and can no longer interest yourself about 
your wife, but your wife will never cease to in- 
terest herself about you ; — look on me once more, 
if only for a moment; but your eyes are em- 
ployed in looking upon something much more 
handsome and pleasing than your wife. Perhaps 
you will not even have it in your power to re- 
member me. Your wife however will remember 
you. The sun and moon and stars will ever see 
me deploring your loss, and 1 will make no delay 


'- . 1* 

F U \ KU A I. A U D \{ 1 :SS US . 


'iiif^ life, 

or skin 

ipons at 

ast, and 

im, and 
once of 
lien ad- 
it witli- 
)ut still 
I on his 
lis loss, 
by the 

1? You 
to me. 
of the 
-f about 
e to in- 
e more, 
re em- 
1 more 
' to re- 
ver see 
J delay 


in joining- you." Catalani could not aiu^^Omhra 
(ulontla a.sjK'ltami with more expression, than 
the Indian widow delivered the above address. 

The interpreter told me that she uttered her 
genuine feelings ; of this however I cannot but 
entertain some doubt, because the poetic style 
is always more flattering than sincere ; and f 
hap[)en to know that she was very ill-treated by 
her husband. 

vVnother speaker said, " You are still among 
us, my l)rother ; your person still has its usual 
appearance, like our own ; not the slightest 
alteration; nothing wanting but action. But 
where is that heaving breast, which only a few 
hours since inhaled the smoke, and then wailed 
it to the Great Spirit? Why is there silence now 
on those lips which so lately spoke a language 
so energetic and expressive? Why are now mo- 
tionless those valiant arms which discharged the 
farthest-flying arrows ; arms w hich were the terror 
of our enemies ? You are gone to the place 
where you were before you came into these 
countries, but your glory will remain with us for 

A third speaker added, "Alas! alas! alas! 
that form which was viewed with such high 
admiration is now become as inanimate as it 
was three hundred winters ago. But you will 
not be for ever lost to us, we will go and rejoin 


t; i 








■ so """^ IIIII^S 


!!: i;^ 12.0 


1.25 1.4 1.6 

■* 6" 











WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 





I ) 

«i I 

Ut 1 

you in the grand region of spirits— again we 
will unite in the chase — again we will march 
together against the enemy. In the mean time, 
full of respect for your virtues and your valour, 
we come to offer you a tribute of kindness; 
your body shall not be exposed in the fields as 
the prey of beasts, but we will take care that 
it, like yourself, shall be united to your prede- 
cessors." By his commencement I imagined 
this orator to be a Frenchman, but he concluded 
like a Greek or a Roman. The most singular 
circumstance relating: to these three discourses 
is, that they contain three different professions 
of faith. 

I asked the interpreter the meaning of the 
three hioidred winters. He said that it was not 
in his power to explain it, and that probably the 
Indian himself knew less about it, if possible, 
than ourselves — who certainly knew nothing at 

All the friends of the deceased, as they arrive, 
move on by his side, each expressing his regret 
and the praises of the departed. 

When these funeral addresses are concluded, 
the body of the deceased is wrapped in his rug 
or skin, and enclosed in the bark of trees, which 
serves for a coffin ; and as, in cases of public or 
family ceremonies, the Indians always do what 
is done by others, whatever be their own indivi- 



dual faith, it is customary with all the tribes to 
place in the coffin all the arms of the deceased, 
whether they believe that he will follow war 
and the chase in another world or not ; and in 
that they are very ancient and very modern. 

On the following morning at sun-rise, the body 
is placed outside *he tent and raised upon two 
supporters, and then the scene changes. 

AH the relations begin to cry and yell as if 
they were frantic, till they lose their voices, 
when they set up a sort of low bellowing. 

They throw away whatever they are in pos- 
session of, without exception, from their orna- 
ments, with which they begin, to their very 
cooking vessels. One would imagine that they 
wished to survive the deceased, merely to la- 
ment him; and his friem/s, exhibiting at the 
same time every appearance of grief, collect 
together the various articles, and take posses- 
sion of them in order to do honour to his memory. 

They prepare a repast of ;ill their provisions. 
If they have none, which is frequently the case 
when they are not engaged in hunting, the feast 
consists of a dog; they sacrifice it to the manes 
of their kinsman, and the friends eat; all the 
liquors also which they possess are placed out- 
side the tent, and the friends drink. Here we 
may observe something of Roman customs, 
and something perfectly modern. 





A i 

y '. 

Sun-set now arrives, and constitutes another 
epoch in the etiquette of lamentation, when the 
screams and bellowings of the morning must be 
renewed ; the frkmk then leave the relatives to 
cry and bellow by themselves, and retire to sleep. 

The corpse remains in this situation, com- 
monly for three or four days, till it has received 
the customary attentions, and the adieus of all 
who pass it. Here we trace the practice of the 
Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chris- 
tians in the age of Tertullian, of several kings, 
of the popes and cardinals in modern times, and 
of the Arabs and Chinese. Sometimes, however, 
it becomes necessary to kec/ ut a considera- 
ble distance in paying these attentions ; for, in 
summer, the putrefaction becomes frightfully 
noisome; and this circumstance attending the ce- 
remony must be considered peculiarly modern. 

The due period being completed, the good 
friends again make their appearance, and con- 
duct the coffin to the Champs- Elijsks. In this 
procession again, we are reminded of the Roman 
Nenice, &c.; all present feel, or affect to feel, 
the desolation of grief; for I am perfectly con- 
vinced that affectation is not a little concerned in 
the matter here, as in other countries, where, as 
I have already told you, all the contortions of 
tragic grimace are speedily succeeded by the 
lively waggery of some broad farce. 

jxdian coffins and cippus. 




The Sioux generally raise the coffins upon four 
stakes, about ten feet high, fixed in the earth ; 
the other Indians inter their dead, and form over 
them hillocks similar to those we have noticed 
at St Louis, but not so large. The face of the 
corpse is always turned towards the east, a 
custom which has existed and still prevails 
among many nations, and which was observed 
by the Christians of the primitive church. 

If the deceased be a person of distinguished 
renown, a huge piece of wood, painted or rather 
daubed with red, (resembling the cippus of the 
Romans,) is fixed at the side of the coffin, and 
hieroglyphics are attached to it, transmitting to 
posterity his achievements and glory; a practice 
confi^rmable to every age, and to every nation. 

The relations, on returning to the camp, re- 
commence their lamentations at the appointed 
hour. They pierce their legs and arms, some with 
thorns and pointed pieces of wood, others with 
knives and arrows. I am convinced that many 
among them would willingly dispense with this 
unpleasant formality ; but it is the usage, and 
must of course be complied with. Some there 
are who wound themselves with no little pre- 
caution and skill ; and who, in fact, seem to 
have studied anatomy a little, in order to learn 
where the flesh is best guarded by the thick- 



■I iJ 

ness of the integuments ; but others, destitute 
of this convenient knowledge, or eager to display 
their grief more vehemently than the rest, in- 
flict serious, and sometimes even fatal injuries 
on themselves. 

The lamentations for the deceased continue 
for more than a month, and periodically, at the 
rising and setting of the sun. They celebrate 
the mournful anniversary for some years, re- 
minding us of the bif evict and paretitalia of the 
Romans. Only a few days since, I was out 
with a hunting party, when our ears were as- 
sailed by dreadful bowlings from a neighbouring 
forest. I imagined that they were made by 
wolves ; they proceeded, however, in reality 
from Indians, who were thus lamenting a rela- 
tion who had been dead more than three years. 

I believe I have already mentioned to you 
that during full mourning they black their faces 
completely over, and in second mourning black 
only half of them. 

When an Indian dies in the winter hunting 
season, his body is carefully preserved : for this 
purpose it is dried and covered with leaves and 
herbs, which are their medical balsams, and 
after being enclosed in the bark of trees (thus 
resembling the mummies of Egypt) it is elevated 
to a considerable height for more complete ex- 





posure to the air. When in the season of sprino- 
they proceed to establish themselves in their 
summer encampment, they go through all the 
ceremonies which we have detailed, and on these 
occasions the frknds generally come off better 
in their entertainments. They find both provi- 
sions and skins, and consequently have much 
more to collect and much more to eat. The 
cries and lamentations take place just as if the 
deceased had expired only a few days or hours 
before ; for, during the hunt, nothing but that is 
at all attend 3d to. From all circumstances, I 
cannot help being convinced that, in their vari- 
ous and continued lamentations, there is more of 
grimace, custom, and formality, than of affection 
and religion, and that hypocrisy finds its way 
into every part of the ea^th. 

You have already see;i that the Indians divide 
the year into twelve moons, like the early 
Greeks; but they give themselves very little 
anxiety about intercalating, as the Greeks did ; 
so that, properly speaking, they have no year, 
but merely months or moons. 

The year of the Sioux commences at the vernal 
equinox, like that of Romulus; that of the 
Cypowais at the summer solstice, as among 
the Greeks when they instituted the Olympic 
Games, which were celebrated every four years 
at the same epoch. 

^'OL. II. T 





The months or moons of tlie Sioux liave different 
names from those of the Cypowais : it is proper 
therefore to take distinct notice of both. We 
will first mention those of the Sioux, beginning 
with the first moon. 

March . . . the moon of bad eyes . . . 

April .... the moon of game 

May .... the moon of nests 

June .... the moon of strawberries 
July .... the moon of cherries . . . 
August . . the mor>n of buffaloes . . . 

September, the moon of oats 

October . . the second moon of oats . 
November, the moon of the roebuck . 
December, the moon of the budding 

of the roebuck's horns 

January . . the moon of valour .... 
February . the moon of wild-cats . . 








S ^iwostapi-oul 






I I 

The Cypowais months are as follow : 

June . . . . the moon of strawberries Hodheimin-quisls 

July .... the moon of blue fruits . . Mikin-quisis 

August . . the moon of yellow leaves Wathebaqul-quisis 

September, the moon of falling leaves Inaqui-quisls 

October. . the moon of migratory ) _. , 

> Bima-hamo-quisis 
game . . , ) 

November, the moon of snow Kaskadin6-quisis 

December . the moon of the Little ) ,, . . , 

. . > Manito-quisis 

Spirit ) ^ 

January. . the moon of the Great ) ,^. . ,, . 

. . > Kitci-Manito-quisis 

Spirit S 





February . the moon of the coming- i 
of eagles J Wamcjinni-quisis 

March ..the moon of hardened snow Ona'janni-f|uisis 
Aiml . . . the moon of snow-shoes . Pokaodaquim.-qnisls 
May the moon of flowers Wubigon-quisis 

The Indians have no division of the week. 
They reckon the days only by sleepings. They 
divide the day into halves and quarters, mea- 
suring the time by the course of the sun from 
its rising to its seUirig. 

Though the Indians are completely ignorant 
of geography, as well as of every other science, 
they have a method of denoting by hieroglyphics 
on the bark of certain papyriferous trees, all 
the countries with which they are acquainted. 
These maps want only the degrees of latitude 
and longitude to be more correct than those of 
some of our own visionary geographers. 

The polar-star is their only astronomical guide, 
or at least their most certain guide, when they 
travel by night. The course of the sun directs 
them by day. But even though the sun or the 
polar-star should be eclipsed, they are equally 
able to distinguish, both by day and night, 
the four cardinal points ; and consequently the 
direction which they want to follow, whether in 
the thickest forests or the widest prairies. Their 
secret is this :— the tips of the blades of grass 
always incline towards tlie south, and it is 




less green on the side towards the north : this 
is their guide in prairies. Tiie tops of trees 
also incline towards the south, and the moss 
which frequently covers their trunks is always 
found on the north side ; the bark is more 
smooth and supple on the east side than on the 
west ; this is their com])ass in the forests. 

They measure distances only by the num])er 
of days required to travel over them ; and as 
they are very well acquainted with the territories 
they inhabit, immense as they arc, tiKJy can fix 
on their maps the precise time requisite for 
going to attack an enemy's post, or for a new 
and more excursive chase. 

They have also hieroglyphics to express all 
the numbers for which their language has words. 

They know nothing of miUiardfi or of millions, 
because they have neither our desires nor wants ; 
even a thousand is beyond the requirement of 
any of their transactions. I conceive, however, 
that, as they can reckon up to a thousand, they 
would be alile to reckon teu thousand, a himdrcd 
thousand, &c. 

The marriages of the Indians have been very 
variously described. I will communicate to 
you, on this subject, simply what I have myself 
seen and been informed of on the spot. 

When an Indian feels any attachment or inclina- 
tion for any individual female, he endeavours to 




obtain her consent to their iniiion. As to sound- 
ing the state of lier heart, that he considers of 

little or 


lie th 

iks til 


consent of l»cr f'atlier, which is the more neces- 
sary, as tlie bridej^rooni goes to reside with the 
bride : the mother, as among tlie (ireeks, is 
never consulted on the subject. These prelimi- 
naries being com])leted, the friends of both par- 
ties, women on the bride's part, and men on 
that of her suitor, meet together in the hut of 
one of his old relations, where a feast is provided 
for the occasion. They dance, and sing, and 
eat and drink, if they have the means ; and the 
friends of the parties are sure to be present. 
The company at length retire, leaving behind 
only three or four of those most intimate with 
he bride and bridegroom. The bride soon after 
knocks at the door, and aimouncing her name, 
enquires if her betrothed husband is within : the 
door is opened, and her female friends, like the 
promibfc of the Romans, present her in form to 
him, while he stands in the middle of them to 
pay her the compliments usual on such occa- 
sions, and then sits down with her upon a skin. 
The Romans seated their betrothed females upon 
the fleece of a sacrificed sheep, to intimate the 
obligation they were about to enter into to pre- 
pare clothing for their husbands and children. 
The Indians, perhaps, by means of the skin just 



INDIAN .MAl{|<lA(.rs. 


i ' 

mcutioiuid, cH[uully iiulicate tliu dutit s about to 
be entered upon. 

Tlie aged relative makes a suitable adcbess 
on the oceasion ; after wliieh the liusband ])re- 
seuts liis wife with a small truss of herbage, 
possibly to hint to lier that her sole business will 
consist in bearing, like a beast of burden, the 
baggage of the whole family. Thus the Romans 
presented to their brides the coluni vomjdiim it 
fusum cum stamine, to remind them that Caia the 
wife of the elder Tarquin was constantly em- 
ployed in spinning. The truss or bundle just 
mentioned is made up of herbs of such delicate 
fragrance, and arranged in so ingenious a man- 
ner, as in my opinion quite to eclipse the florists 
and perfumers of Paris itself: I have kept one 
of them as a very valuable curiosity. The 
dancing, and eating and drinking are now re- 
})eated, after which the wife, attended by her 
■pvouuhwy returns to the hut of her father. 

As Indian girls are not in possession of the 

JlammewHy a covering for the head which the 

Roman brides wore on the marriage-day, they 

throw over theirs the coverlet which is their 

usual garment. 

The bridegroom follows her the day after, 
and, instead of asking her father for a dower, 
which among civilized nations frequently in- 
volves families in ruin, and seems to turn the 



fair sex into a subject of bargain and sale, makes 
him a number of presents, and again requests 
the bestowment of his daughter on him. Tlic 
father grants his request on condition of his 
remaining with him, and liunting for him for 
a year or longer. Such are the usages of the 
Sioux. Among the Cypowais, he is not at 
liberty to remove till he has obtained offspring 
by his marriage. Here we see the case of 
Jacob and Labnn. 

It might be imagined, that this species of pro- 
bation was intended to prove the character of 
the husband, and tne sentiments he entertained 
towards his wife ; but I cannot help thinking 
that it is in reality a speculation of the father- 
in-law to benefit by the exertions and fatigues 
of his new relative. And, in fact, a good hunter 
is in great request with all families. 

On the day after their union has been sanc- 
tioned by this paternal consent, they offer some 
sacrifice to tiveir respective JManitous ; as the Ro- 
mans, on like occasions, consecrated gifts and 
offerings to Jupiter, Juno, Venus, Diana, and 
the goddess of persuasion, denominated Suada, 
whose propitious influence on married life would, 
in my humble opinion, be of more value than 
that of all the rest, even among civilized people. 

Such are the ceremonies generally observed 
by the Indians, when they are inclined to trans- 






Li I 

J I 


f ■ I 






act the nvattor according; to rule and order. But 
they more frequently marry without any other 
formality tlian that practised by the Greeks and 
Komans in their marriages per usuin ; that is, 
thev take a wife i'or tlic satisfaction and services 
she can bestow on tlieni, and to obtain from her 
chihhen, wlio are considered as legitimate, pre- 
cisely like those of the marriages of antiijuity 
just men lioned. TXn:^ piicria polcslas \^ not even 
consulted on the occasion, or, at the utmost, 
mcais are found, by presents, of rendering it a 
dead letter. And, in fact, as polygamy is very 
prevalent among the Indians, who sometimes 
have hve or six wives, they would nearly ex- 
haust the whole year in going through tlieir va- 
rious ceremonies, were they, on occasion of every 
marriage, scruj)ulousIy to perform those which J 
iuive just detailed. 

The act of divorce is attended with no more 
ditliculty tlian that of marriage. When both 
parties have come to an agreement, everything 
is completed, w^ithout recurring to lawyers, who 
would devour the patrimony of both, or to judges 
who, after consulting a million of contradictory 
commentaries, would encumber the text by still 
add ins* a new one, and conclude bv decidini 
according to the fluctuation of their own preju- 
dices. The children, if very young, generally 
continue with the mother, because, without 






having studied the Justinian code profoundly, 
or entering deeply into scandalous researches 
on paternity, the Indians consider the relation- 
ship of maternity as more traceable and clear : 
if the children are grown up, they either remain, 
or go wherever they please. The only |)aternal 
abode they have is the forest, and that lias 
room enough for all. 

There are among them some husbands who, 
without having read St Augustin, Diderot, or 
Ilelvctius, and following merely the suggestions 
of their own minds, mutually accommodate each 
other ])y the loan of their wives, and it rarely 
hai)pens that their wives give occasion for quar- 
rels or revenge. There are, moreover, some 
tribes or huts in which, as among the Arabs, a 
single wife is considered sufficient for the whole 
family, and in which she is treated as a mere 
article of household furniture, as was the case 
with the ancient Britons. 

A husband who has many wives seldom keeps 
more than two of them in his hut ; the remainder 
continue with their relations, or sometimes even 
in the hut of another man. They very rarely 
quarrel : devoid of affection, they are fortu- 
nately also devoid of jealousy; and the eldest 
of the number becomes the mothei -abbess. 
It has been repeatedly stated by writers, that 








'} ' 

U if ' 

f ! I 

the Sioux are jealous of their wives. This may 
possibly be the case ; but perhaps it is only — 
on the principle of monsieur de Montespan — that 
they may be better paid for their wives, their 
silence, and their virtue. 

Others have made statements directly con- 
trary, and asserted that the Indians volunteer 
the favours of their wives and daughters. I 
admit that there is no great difficulty in obtain- 
ing them ; but I am not aware that the Indians 
whom we have hitherto seen, practice this species 
of prostitution, except when they desire to ob- 
tain, as in a case I mentioned, a race of good 
or evil spirits. I am informed that the Indians, 
who are stated to be so far advanced in polite 
civili?;ation and liberal hospitality, are the Alan- 
daiies who inhabit the Missouri, and the S/iegs, 
a wandering tribe near the sources of the Co- 

I have mentioned to you, my dear Countess, 
their manner of making peace : I must now give 
you some information on their mode of making 
war, although, as you recollect, they have not 
been inclined to engage in it in my presence. 

The motives from which their wars originate 
we have already seen ; and we have noticed 
also their councils to deliberate on it, the smok- 
ing of their red pipe, the preliminary war-dance. 



1 •■* 


and the weapons they make use of. We will 
proceed to view them now on their march against 
the enemy. 

Indians generally commence their career of 
warfare at the age of fifteen. Under the firm 
conviction that war is the grand duty of their 
lives, that they are born for no other purpose, 
little is requisite to kindle in them a suffi- 
cient degree of ardour , Their chiefs, however, 
often represent to them that the bones of their 
relations, their brothers, remain unburied and 
bleaching on the hostile territory ; that they 
call aloud for vengeance, which they are bound 
to inflict; that the Spirit may be heard in the 
breezes and the winds reproaching them for 
their cowardice, and that they should hasten to 
appease their wrath ; that the genii, the guardian 
angels of their honour, urge and stimulate them 
to the mortal conflict. ** Come on, then, my 
children," adds the warrior-chief, *' let us tear 
asunder with our teeth those who have pierced 
the hearts of our brethren. Let your youth no 
longer waste away in inaction. Give free vent 
to the impulses of your noble valour. Anoint 
your hair, paint your faces, charge your quivers. 
Call on Echo to repeat the terror of your shout. 
Console the spirits of the dead, and stay not 
your hand till you have avenged them." 

Roused by this energetic language (for the 






v» .> 



Indians are much more eloquent on the subject 
of war than on that of peace) the young Indians 
feel themselves as it were warriors before they 
have had experience to become such ; every 
delay appears intolerable ; and they burn with 
impatience to imbrue their weapons and their 
hands in the blood of their enemies. The war- 
dance increases the exasperation of their rage, 
and also instructs them how to encounter the foe 
with most dexterity and success. 

The bravest and most experienced warrior of 
the nation is chosen for their commander, (and 
in the same manner respectively in bands and 
tribes,) after which the whole nation marches off 
in a mass. 

It sometimes occurs that a troop of warriors, or 
young men, excited by some brave leader or some 
supposed inspired individual, march off against 
the enemy, without the authority of their tribe, 
or the consent of their chiefs. Only a few days 
since, one of these prophets, after having stated 
that the Great Spirit had commanded him in a 
dream to march against a party of Cypowais, 
who were then scouring the neighbouring terri- 
tory, threw on the ground his belt, (which the In- 
dians consider as a Manitou,) exclaiming, "The 
first that takes up that belt shall be next in 
command to myself, and those who follow us 
will be ranked among the chosen." He marched 

tj : M-. 



away with about thirty of his tribe, and as yet 
no intelligence has been received of him. 

Their declaration of war is by attack. The 
custom formerly was to send a tomahawk, or an 
arrow dipped in the blood of a prisoner whom 
they sacrificed on the occasion to the Manitou of 
War ; as the Fccialis of the Romans in similar 
cases threw a javelin into the territory of the 
enemy : but as the herald-at-arms thus em- 
ployed never returned with an answer, the 
ceremony is now dispensed with, and thereby 
one victim saved. 

As they are free from any incumbrance of 
plunder or military stores, their surprises are 
effected with great facility ; and the precaution, 
skill, and stratagem with which they are con- 
certed and executed, are of a truly extraordinary 

When the Indians are advancing to the ene- 
my's territories, they are able to proceed for 
whole days together dragging themselves for- 
ward on their bellies, and in such profound 
silence that, at the distance of ten paces, not 
the slightest sound would strike the ear from a 
hundred men thus toiling out their progress. 
They kindle no fires, or pipes, and sustain them- 
selves on what they may happen to have about 
them, or on roots which they find in their way. 



>' (.1 I 



Even frogs occasionally cease to be Manitous, 
and are converted from divinities into provisions. 
When they discover their enemy they w^ind 
their way like reptiles through brambles, grass, 
and ditches, and pounce upon their prey vi^hen 
least of all expected, if they perceive that they 
are discovered, and that they are unequal to 
making resistance, they disperse in an instant ; 
they conceal themse. 'es in their flight, and re- 
unite at a spot fixed on as a place of rendezvous 
previously to their advance. This is a fresh 
reason for the assertion often made, that civilized 
nations can obtain nothing but loss by going to 
war with Indians. 

The scenes of horror presented by a hostile en- 
campment completely taken by surprise, baffle 
all description. 

The hatred and rage of the assailants, urged 
on, as they conceive, by the manes of their 
slaughtered kinsman demanding vengeance ; the 
fury and desperation of their adversaries, aware 
as they are of the dreadful fate awaiting them ; 
all these murderous passions let loose a ferocity 
and occasion a carnage, which I should hesitate 
to believe possible, if I had not in a certain de- 
gree been a witness of the scene myself. 

Massacres extend even far beyond the scene 
of battle with the rapidity of the electric shock. 





On the 7th of June, a day of which I gave 
you some account in my preceding letter, a 
false report was circulated that Pamschimva (the 
chief) had been killed by the Cypowais at the 
falls of St Anthony. His mother, on hear- 
ing it, instantly seized a little girl of that na- 
tion who had been preserved from the period 
when she had been made a captive in her cra- 
dle, and Wiiowas the delight both of the family 
and the camp, and with a single stroke of a 
hatchet cleft her in two. Panischiowa, however, 
returned and thanked his mother for this testi- 
mony of her maternal love and of her hatred of 
the Cypowais. 

Though the Indians are not cannibals, it is 
nevertheless true that they sometimes devour 
their enemies, and they almost always drink of 
their blood, smearing their bodies with it in evi- 
dence and triumph of their massacre. 

When they have been successful in an expe- 
dition they immediately return to their camp, 
carrying as trophies the spoils of their foes ; as 
the Romans exhibited their spolia opima. 

In order to avoid pursuits by any enemy who 
might possibly succeed to the one they have 
overthrown, they employ every species of finesse 
and stratagem, displaying singular sagacity and 
ingenuity; and, if apprehensive of being fol- 






i ' ^S 

lowed into their camp, and of being considerably 
inferior in numbers, they embark with incon- 
ceivable rapidity, their town, houses, families, 
dogs and the whole of their property, and move 
away to remoter regions, where they may expe- 
rience greater security. 

When they think they are not pursued, they 
always preserve some of their prisoners that 
their death may furnish a spectacle to the en- 
campment on their return. The prisoners, who 
well know the fate that awaits them, are con- 
stantly singing on their march the death song : 
** We are going to die, &c. but you shall see us 
die without trembling, &c." 

On the route, they are so ill-treated that it 
might be supposed a frame of iron would be ne- 
cessary to endure it. They are bound with 
cords made of the bark of trees, which some- 
times cut thei** flesh through to the bone. At 
night they are extended in a trough made in the 
earth, and by means of forked branches of trees 
fixed deeply in the ground, their persecutors 
nail down, as it were, their bodies, arms, legs 
and even their necks. This must indeed be 

When the victorious band approaches the camp, 
it announces in loud shouts, and in the custo- 
mary forms, the success of the expedition, the 





number of men whom they have lost, and the 
number of prisoners they are bringing with 

All who are present in the camp begin then 
to pour forth the most frightful lamentations 
and yells; and, ranging themselves in two files, 
with their knotted staves or sticks in their hands, 
strike the prisoners, s they pass along between 
them, with great violence and cruelty; but as 
they are obliged to husband their ferocity, in 
order to extend the duration of this delightful 
spectacle, as to them it is, of human suflfering, 
they apply their blows with critical judgment, 
and take care not to make them mortal. They 
paint their bodies with the blood of the sufferers, 
and the camp presents the image of a great 

A kind of council is now formed at which the 
prisoners may be said to be tried ; sometimes a 
few of them are spared, and especially women 
and children. Those who are condemned, are 
delivered over to their executioners, that is, to 
the whole camp. The decree of the council is 
expressed in the following terms: ** Let those 
who are devoted to vengeance be led to the 
house of death; let the others be conveyed to 
the house of mercy." 

The victims are scorched at a slow fire, their 
limbs are lacerated and pierced by pieces of 





! fi 

pointed wood, and all sorts of cuttinf^ instru- 
ments. Under the inHiction of these frightful 
tortures, the bare idc'i of which produces shud- 
dering, some close their eyes, preserving an 
heroic courage and calmness to the last ; others 
insult their executioners, and lavish upon them 
expressions of contempt and deliance even to 
their expiring sigh. 

Some of the prisoners are sacrificed to the 
honour of their Manitous of War, or their infernal 
gods. Thus Achilles sacrificed them to Pa- 
ti'oclus, and the Mexicans to their idol deities. 
The place of punishment or torture is the centre 
of the camp. 

The herald at arms then proclaims that the 
prisoners who have been spared are about to 
be distributed to tht)se who have just claims to 
them as slaves. The council bestows these on 
such as have lost some relation in the contest, 
and the grant is in proportion to the loss. 

The children are very well treated, at least 
when it does not happen that they are made 
sacrifices to vengeance, like the unfortunate 
little Cypowais girl given in revenge for the 
supposed death of Panisciowa The women pri- 
soners are well off in ])roportion as they succeed 
in exciting interest. If any man is spared, it is 
in order to bestow him on some woman whom 
the expedition has made a widow. If he be 


v^ ail 


en to 

to the 


lat the 
out to 
lims to 
lese on 

,t least 
i made 
for the 
len pri- 
id, it is 

1 whom 
' lie be 


lortunate cnougli to please her, she becomes 
his mate; if not, she sacrifices him with her 
own hands to the manes of her husband. 

The dead bodies of the victims are left ex- 
posed to birds of prey and wild beasts, and 
frequently to the d(»;;s of their executioners. 
Their bones are deprived of the honours of sepul- 
ture. Such also was the practice of antiquity. 
Priam could scarcely obtain from y\chilles the 
body of Hector. 

The same council which superintends these 
honours, decrees also the military honours, and 
the Cot'ona Castrensis, the VcdUlum, the P/ia/erce, 
the Armil/w, the E.vuvia of the Romans, are the 
distinctions which the Indians grant to military 

The amount of enemies killed forms the test 
by which this merit is decided ; and the manner 
in which each claimant proves his pretensions is 
not a little extraordinary. 

Every individual marks his own arrows, and 
the owner of the fatal arrow is consequently 
with ease ascertained. The end of it beino- 
fixed to the shaft only by a species of mastic, 
which is melted by the animal heat of the body 
into which it passes, and being barbed, it al- 
ways remains in the wound, though the shaft be 
withdrawn ; it can be found only by cutting open 



I A' 

the body pierced by it: sometimes tlicy lace- 
rate and cut open the living subject. 

If the enemy has been killed by discharges of 
fire-arms, or by cutting weapons, the glory is 
adjudged to him who presents the scalp. This 
is the hair and skin which cover that part of the 
skull called the occiput, or vcrkw a vcrtcmlo ; 
as the hair in that part of the head forms in a 

Even though the enemy may have been 
knocked down by any other person than the 
man who exhibits his scalp, the honour always 
belongs to the latter, and for the following rea- 
son. The enemy who falls might, as the Indians 
say, merely pretend to be dead in order to 
destroy with more ease and security his pur- 
suer; and upon this principle they decide that 
the person who scalped the fallen foe, by being 
first to come in close contact with him, incurred 
the greatest danger, and consequently has a fair 
title to the honour of the triumph. 

There is no enemy, whether killed or only 
wounded, who, on falling into the hands of In- 
dians, escapes this terrible operation of scalping; 
and all Indians are so firmly convinced of the 
fate awaiting this part of the head, that they con- 
stantly keep on it a lock of hair which they pre- 
serve, as it were, ever ready for presentation to the 




scalpin.q:-knifc of tlic foe. This assertion I make 
onl3 after very particular attention, and 1 have 
found it confirmed in every part of tlie Indian 
territories in which I have travelled. 

I cannot help thinking, my dear Countess, 
that you are curious to learn, as I was myself, 
what extravagant caprice determined the ferocity 
of these people to this region of the brain; but I 
am unable to give you any satisfaction, for my 
enquiries have terminated merely in confirming 
what I have already stated, that they consider 
the scalp as the most glorious trophy of their 
victories and achievements. I can only farther 
suggest one conjecture, that perhaps they en- 
tertain the same opinion as the great philoso- 
phers who fix upon this spot as the seat of the 
soul, — the sensorium ; and that, consequently, by 
opening the door for it by the shortest way, 
they think their enemy must be really and irre- 
coverably dead, no particle of hope being thus 
left him from miracles themselves, — not even 
from those of galvanism. 

You have now seen the Indians make war 
by ambuscades and surprises. The most inte- 
resting spectacle, however, is the sight of them 
when encountering their foe in the open plain, 
in those immense prairies where, if it were not 
for their verdure, one would imagine himself in 
the deserts of Arabia. It is in this situation 


f ! 11 




'* ■ U 

; ' ' '1' 

ri , i; J 

' i ' 



INDIAN' WA 111' A RE. 


1 1 ^ 

1 1 

that intrepidity, subtlety, and address, arc more 
tlian ever required and displayed by them. 

If the two parties be equal in point of 
numbers, they fight openly ; if one be much 
weaker than the other, and possess no means 
of flight, they with wonderful speed dig holes in 
the ground with their nails, and fight within 
them. While some are intensely working at 
this operation, the rest surround and protect 

When the assailants have no more ammunition, 
they make use of their bows ; and their manner 
of fighting under such circumstances is truly 

As their arrows, if discharged horizontally, 
can scaicely strike their enemy, whose head 
even is not perceivable without some difficulty, 
they discharge them in the same manner as shells 
are discharged from bombs ; and the parabola 
which they describe is often so accurate that they 
enter the body of the foe in their fall. I have 
myself seen these holes, and Indians obtaining 
the most brilliant and wonderful success against 
those entrenched in them. The angel of death 
is active everywhere ; but I was not aware that 
he could exhibit in his work of destruction such 
dexterity and address. 

Lastly, to conclude what relates to the wars 
of these extraordinary people, the prisoners who 






by any means get back to their tribe are no 
longer considered as members of it ; for the In- 
dians consider those who have been taken by 
the enemy, as dead, and will recollect only those 
who are determined to conquer or die. 

Thus far you have seen the Indians uncivilized, 
indolent and cruel. I will now afford you a 
little relief, by exhibiting them in the fairer as- 
pect of their nature or character, as active, sober, 
and industrious. I will now conduct you to the 

This is their principal occupation, I may in- 
deed say their only one ; for I know not what 
characteristic designation to apply to war. It 
is the chase which supplies exercise for their 
childhood, their youth, their manhood, and 
their declining life. It is as conducive to their 
renown as it is necessary to their existence. A 
good hunter is among the Indians as much dis- 
tinguished as a valiant warrior, and is always 
more wise and less depraved. 

When hunting, every Indian is attentive to his 
duty, and nothing but his duty. He forgets quar- 
relling, gaming, (which also is one of his vices,) 
and even his ferocity. Some of the traders, who 
follow every year in their train, have assured me 
that the winter Indian and the summer Indian 
are totally different beings. During summer, 
he is always in a state of indolence, which 





K ^: 

K I 

degrades and brutifies man in his most eivilized 
and best cdncated state : the winter lie passes 
in hibour, whieh tames and softens eluiraeters 
the most reckless and ferocions. Jnlumtin<if, the 
Indians arc indefatigable, though engaged in 
exercise incessant and most laborious ; and the 
success with which they pursue their various 
game through both ])rairies and forests, in lakes 
and rivers, displays strongly the acuteness of 
their understandings. 

The fatigue endured by the women in the 
chase exceeds all imagination. They carry the 
tents ; they go in search of the animals the men 
have killed; they prepare the skins of them, and 
dry and smoke the flesh : every household duty 
is included in their department, and frequently 
an infant at the breast, or in the womb, adds 
to the burthen of their laborious life. These 
poor women, even when in the state of preg- 
nancy, are not on that account the more spaied. 
Sometimes, in order to avoid the tediousness and 
dilHculties of parturition, they press their sto- 
machs against an horizontal bar, their head 
and legs hanging downwards to the ground, and 
almost immediately after their delivery return 
to their toilsome and painful occupations. 

The animals which the Indians hunt are the cas- 
tor, the musk-rat, the otter, the marten, the wild- 
cat, the beaver, the stag- wolf, the badger, the ra- 





coon, the grey, yellow, and red fox, the pecan, the 
jjjrey and white hare, a few ermines, tlie gopher, 
many deseriptions of the squirrel, the prairie dog, 
the bhick, yellow, and white bear, and the wolf of 
various species ; the skins of all whicii arc con- 
sidered as coming under the denomination of pel- 
try. Those which supply skins for the tanner are 
buffaloes, roebucks, deer, antelopes, elks, orig- 
iHils, (exceedingly rare) mountain-sheep, rein- 
deer, &c. Their Hesh server die Indians for food, 
and a portion of it is smoked and preserved for 
the summer, if the chase prove a favourable one ; 
the skins are stored in packages, to dispose of 
them in payment for articles of indispensable 
necessity and of luxury, with which the traders 
su})ply, or have already supplied them. Indians 
never dispose of anything for real money, of the 
value of which they know nothing. 

Before departing from the chase they again 
dance, and purify themstilves in the presence of 
their Manitous, like the ancients before their 
idols, on occasions of great importance and 
enterprise; and, like the moderns before the 
priests and, the altar, previously to their under- 
taking a voyage or their exposure to great 
danger. The pigment used by them on these 
occasions is black. 

I should have rejoiced to have had it in my 
power, and it was my intention, to detail to you 






regularly some of their most interesting hunts. 
My constancy is still unshaken, but the symp- 
toms of my being able to extend my active 
researches much farther are still far from flat- 

I have exhibited the Indians to you exactly as 
they appeared to myself. On viev/ing their 
various qualities, physical and moral in combi- 
nation, they present a mass of cortradictions 
sufficient, 1 conceive, to embarrass the judgment 
of the profoundest observer. 

They are very warm in their aft'ections to the 
dead, and very indifterent towards the living ; a 
father of a family, a son, or a husband, returns 
home after a very long absence and enters his 
hut without even raising his eyes towards his 
relations, and his relations exhibit precisely the 
same conduct towards him. On the one hand 
they are extremely avaricious, and always grasp- 
ing; while on the other they are excessively 
prodigal, lavishing everything in presents to their 
friends. They appear to reverence a million 
of INIanitous ; and they die without invoking, or 
apparently even calling to their recollection, a 
single individual of them. Some offer sacrifices 
to gods, and others to devils. They complain of 
never having anything to eat, and devour in a 
single day what would supply them abundantly 
for a whole week. They are sometimes indolent 



and sliigpfish, sometimes active and indefatigable, 
vicious and virtuous, sober and intemperate. They 
never say what they feel, and they never feel 
what they say; in this respect resembling many 
other people of all countries and times. Revenge 
appears to be with them a passion absolutely 
irresistible, yet presents sometimes moderate 
and qualify it. They salute you to-day as 
friends, to-morrow they will lie in wait for you 
and murder you as enemies. They always ex- 
pect gratitude from others, but never exhibit any 
themselves. They promise you favours, but you 
never obtain them. In their manners, their cus- 
toms, and tlieir ceremonies, we see traces of the 
ancients, the moderns, all times, and all nations; 
but they resemble no other nation in the world. 
After such a contrast of sentiments and actions, 
of propensities and devotions, I leave it to those 
who can compress everything into a system, 
to decide on the character and the religion of 
the Indians. I hope they will be more fortunate 
than he who while attempting to catch the moon 
in a ffliintain was drowned in it himself. 

With regard to myself I can only repeat what 
I have already shewn, both respecting the reli- 
gion and character of these singular people. I 
will merely add, that the Indian, as long as he 
remains such, will ever be his own master and 
sovereign, and bear his independence proudly 








about him ; but that as soon as he becomes 
civilized, he will be capable of being converted 
even into the vilest of slaves ; that his heart is 
by its nature the seat of dissimulation and 
mischief, of inhumanity and cruelty, and that 
civilization will meet with powerful obstacles in 
the state or structure of his mind, and only with 
great difficulty be enabled to make him truly 

Before I quit the Indian territory, my dear 
Countess, I will endeavour to learn, and to the 
best of my power to communicate to you what- 
ever may be most likely to attract your attention 
and aid your decision respecting these people. 
My attempts are incessant to grapple with the 
difficulties which constantly arise to thwart my 
designs. If heaven should favour my intentions, 
I should still have to combat a crowd of melan- 
choly recollections. My heart is ever reverting 
to my beloved and, alas, my deplored Italy ! 
What a conflict is there in a mind ill at ease ! It 
can find rest only in that which agitates it. 


Lake La Crosse, or Lake Trovers, near the 
Sourees of the river St Peter, 

Julif2(S, 1823. 

I ADDRESS you ROW, my dear Countess, from a 
])lace which has not yet found its way into the 
maps. By constantly moving on we get farther 
than we should have imagined, as by perseve- 
rance water hollows out the rock. 

Incessantly thwarted in my project of going 
farther to the north, I was upon the point of 
changing my direction for the south, intending 
to traverse by land, with a Canadian interpreter 
and an Indian guide, the desert tracts which 
separate Fort St Peter from Fort Council 
Bluff, on the Missouri ; to descend that great 
river as far as St Charles ; to return thence to 
St Louis, and then follow the Mississippi to its 




I I. t\ 


,' I 

mouths. It is not likely that I should have met 
with any obstacle to this design ; for my Argus 
observers, considering me by this plan as ap])a- 
rently on my return, and through countries indif- 
ferent to them, would have lost all their anxiety 
and apprehension. But at this period major 
Long arrived at Fort St Peter, charged with an 
expeditioix to the northern boundary territories 
of the vast empire of the United States. 

In this event I thought I perceived an end 
to all the difficulties which had till then impeded 
my curiosity. I participated, however, in the 
very great surjmse manifested by the officers of 
the fort at the arrival of an expedition so com- 
pletely unhioicn to the garrison. 

The ardent desire which I had shewn of 
pushing my rambles farther, was naturally men- 
tioned, and I seized the opportunity of asking 
permission to follow the major, simply in the 
character of a wanderer who had come thus far 
to see Indian lards and Indian people. They 
first set before me the sufferings, the dangers, 
&c. which I must encounter ; but as I laughed at 
these childish terrors, they saw that they had no 
power over my mind, and that the attempts 
were wholly vain. 

They next attacked me on what they thought 
my weak side, — my purse. After so long a 
digression from the route which was to lead me 

MAJOR LOiVg's expedition. 


direct from Philadelphia to New Orleans,— a 
digression which has filled the whole time from 
the month of March.—it might reasonably be 
supposed to be rather in a declining state ; the 
more so, as the curiosities I had bought of the 
savages had greatly contributed to diminish its 
contents. But a little fund which I kept in reserve 
disconcerted this attack also: I even sacrificed 
my beautiful repeater that I might have this still 
untouched ; and bought a horse, and all provisions 
that were said to be necessary, with the proceeds. 
I contrived, by means of a few little trinkets 
and articles of luxury I had with me, to give 
myself the pleasure of offering some slight tokens 
of my gratitude to the amiable Snelling family, 
and to major Tagliawar, for the civilities they 
had lavished upon me during the two months I 
spent amongst them. When they saw I was 
determined to go, they even carried their polite- 
ness so far as to off'er me pecuniary assistance 
with the most honourable and disinterested con- 
fidence ; a thing by no means common among 
an extremely commercial people, especially 
towards a person of whom they knew nothing 
but what they had seen. 

So many imaginary difficulties were not au- 
spicious. Major Long did not cut a very noble 
figure in the affair ; I foresaw all the disgusts and 
vexations I should have to experience, and under 

i 1 


' I.' 







' -^ 

J ! :' 



■J: i.' '■ ■' 

A h < 

other circumstances I should have known what 
to do. But there I was, — and the pohit was how 
to carry into effect a plan which had been con- 
tinually thwarted by others, and which I could 
not execute in any other way. My first inten- 
tion, that of going in search of the real sources 
of the Mississippi, was always before my eyes. 
I was therefore obliged to sacrifice my pride 
and my feeling of what was due to me, to the 
desire of seeing places which one can hardly 
expect to visit twice in one's life, and of gaining 
information one can gain nowhere else ; and I 
gave myself up to all I foresaw I should have to 
endure from littleness and jealousy. 

We set out from Fort St Peter on the evening 
of the 7th instant. The expedition consisted of 
major Long, as chief, an astronomer, a minera- 
logist, a physician, a zoologist, an artist, Mr 
Renville, interpreter for the Sioux, a young 
Canadian, interpreter for the Algonquine lan- 
guage, twenty-eight men, one officer, and Mr 
Snelling, sen of the colonel. 

It was divided into two bodies, one of which 
went by land with twenty-two horses and 
mules ; the other embarked on the river St 
Peter in five Indian canoes. The major accom- 
panied the latter detachment, and I followed 
him with the intention of going sometimes by 
land and sometimes by water, according to the 



curious or interesting objects, either route i.^irrht 
offer. It was determined that tlie two parties 
should meet every evening. 

The river St Peter, called by the Sioux 
Watp(Mncmsnthe, tracing it from its mouth, has 
at first a S. S. W. direction; it then bends 
to the south, and its constant windings turn to 
every point of the compass; but as its course, 
from its sources to the place where it falls into 
the Mississippi, is almost directly from N. N.W. 
to E. S. E., I shall distinguish the two banks as 
northern and southern every time I have occasion 
to designate them. 

After all I have said in my preceding rambles 
about savages, it might appear that the subject 
is pretty well exhausted ; but besides that the 
new country which opens before us has fresh 
sources of interest, it seems that the things we 
meet with here are admirably calculated to serve 
as appendices to what we have seen before. If 
any repetition occur, it will only serve to con- 
firm us in the belief of what had perhaps at first 
appeared too marvellous. 

The first evening we encamped on the south- 
ern bank, above the tribe of the chieftain Wame- 
nitonka, or the Black Dog. I had seen this camp 
extremely populous a few days before, and now 
we found it a desert; hunger had roused these 
savages from their habitual indolence, and had 






driven tlicni to hunt deer and l)uHalos in more 
distant forests and prairies. A liut wliieli was 
shut, and which wc opened, aHorded us some 
shelter tVom the musquitos wliieh attacked us 
on every side, and against the rain which has 
attended us ever since our departure. Behind 
the oak-bark which shghtly fastened the door, 
we found, hung like a curtain, a deer-skin which 
the savages looked upon as the guardian iVia- 
nitou of their house. When they return they 
will probably choose some more trusty .V<m.v, 
and the deer will lose their confidence and his 
own divinity at the same time. 

The encampment of l*aniscihowa on the east- 
ern bank, where we stopped to breakfast on the 
morning of the eighth, was equally deserted, and 
for the same reason ; but the chief, who is as 
lazy as he is gluttonous, had retired to the 
neighbourhood of the fort, to revel in Capuan 
luxury, and to shelter himself in that sacred and 
inviolable land from the incursions which the 
Cypowais, justly indignant at his conduct on the 
seventh of June, might make upon his cadlc. 

We dined at the Prairie iks Frau^^oh, so called 
from the first Frenchmen who pushed their dis- 
coveries from Canada to this spot, where they 
were killed by the Indians. It is thirty miles 
above the fort. 

The chief Siacape has his summer encamp- 


sr AC A pi's camp. 



mcnt on the i^ast uank. The liuts of tliis tribe 
are of a singular construction. The walls and 
roof are of oak bark, interwoven with si)lit rods 
in so solid a manner, that the most violent hur- 
ricane could scarcely i)enetrate them. Every- 
tliing here was also deserted. We found only a 
dog- hanged, and thus consecrated to their paiatcs 
or tutelary deities. To render the otfering- more 
acceptable, they had decorated his head with a 
plume of killow of which 1 stripped him to en- 
rich my mvagc collection. 

Next to the women, the dogs are the most 
unhappy animals in these regions. After being 
half starved and well worked at the chase, the 
truck, and the sledge, they end their days' as a 
dinner or as a sacrifice. 

On the opposite shore of the river, a meadow 
studded with little thickets and scattered with 
bones and tumuli, like those I remarked at St 
Louis and elsewhere, is an image of the Elysian 
Fields of antiquity; and though one tread on a 
wild soil, and bones of savages, the pathetic cha- 
racter of the spot strikes one with involuntary 
veneration, and the mind is agitated by varied 
feelings which carry it far into other worlds. 
Here I saw a most singular union: one of these 
graves was surmounted by a cross, whilst upon 
another close to it a trunk of a tree was raised. 


KAr.LS or' ST PET Fit. 


covered witlihiero|^lypliics, recording' the number 
of enemies slain by the tenant of the tomb, and 
several of his tutelary Manitous, Here present- 
ing a fresh hint to those who are fond of system- 
making on the subject of the religion of these 
people, to be cautious in their inductions. 

Sixty miles from the fort is a fall, or to speak 
more accurately, a violent rapid. We pulled 
\i\) our canoes, dragging them ourselves through 
the water. This is the first interesting point 
we met with on this river. Rocks pictu- 
resquely grouped, between which the winding- 
stream rushes and breaks with violence ; a little 
woody island in the middle ; banks clothed with 
shady trees on the one side, and broken into 
steep and rugged rocks on the other, composed 
a varied and romantic picture, to which 1 con- 
trived to add a touch of the grotesque. Being 
obliged to get on board the ^^ moe to cross a 
deep gulf, my sailors were so deficient either in 
strength or in skill, that they sutlered it to be 
carried away by the current and dashed in 
pieces against a rock, upon which I remained 

In the evening avc halted at the Indian camp 
of the Battue an fief, where I witnessed a most 
curious contrast. A woman in the deepest 
attiiction was tcarin >• off her hair, which she 





offered us a saerificc to tlic luaiics of some re- 
lative, whose lifeless remain.s were stretehed 
upon a scaffold; while a group of savages were 
eating, drinking, singing and dancing around 
another body, exposed in the same manner to 
the view of ])assengers, like those of the heroes 
of antiquity. Here again I must beg you to 
observe the extreme ditticjilty of forming any ac- 
curate opinion as to their usages or ceremonies. 

The next day I quitted the canoe, and got on 
horseback; the passage of Bois-Franc, in the 
Indian tongue Ciafit/wlc, excited my curiosity, 
and amply repaid it. For thirty miles there is 
a continual series of trees of every kind, and 
of delicious fruit-bearing shrubs; little smiling 
meadows ; lakes covered with swans and other 
aquatic birds ; delightful plains, and picturesque 
hills. It seems a fit haunt for nymphs and 
dryads ; unfortunately, however, we found it 
inhabited by nothing more agreeable than mus- 
quitos and gadflies, which excoriated man and 
beast. I cannot describe the impression which 
such a solitude, without a human creature to 
enjoy its beauty or its riches, makes upon the 

We saw hieroglyphics engraven on a tree; 
they signified that the tribe of the Red Hawk — 
(the Sussitons) had passed that way with their 
chief. Everything was recorded; the number 





of men and of women, — whence they eame, — • 
whither tliey were goinj;', — wlierc they IkkI l)een 
Iiuntmu;', I'sie. liy this means the Indians reci- 
procally convey mnch useful information; in 
the present instance, here was an to 
others not to throw away their trouble ouf^round 
which had just been ]k\ -on. This ])assage is a 
labyrinth; and had we not been accompanied by 
JNIr licnville, who had quitted the canoe party to 
act as g^uide, we should not easily have found our 
way out. The forest extends over the country 
towards the Missouri to an innnense distance. 
We emerged from it on the west, where we 
foimd a vast and magnificent prairie, called by 
the Indians Wayo-Thee, or the Arrow. A great 
block of granite, which is visible from a consi- 
derable distance on the left, serves the wan- 
dering savages at once as a temple and a tute- 
lary deity in their hunting ])arties. It was 
painted with a nose, eyes and mouth, as the sun 
and moon frequently were among civilized Jia- 
tions, until jNlaria, the preceptor of Copernicus 
at Bologna, and IManchini, robbed them of these 
features. All the tribes which pass that way 
go to pay it homage and offerings. 

At the spot where we encamped, Mr Ren- 
ville, who has the most perfect acquaintance 
with the Sioux, being born and having lived 
among them, jwinted out to me a very singular 





tliinj:^, an Indian Ifi/pocau.stou, or Sudatoria. 
Wlion their physicians wish to tlirow a patient 
into a perspiration, they shut liim \i\) in a little 
hut ])etween four massy stones of difl'ercnt 
coh)urs, heated ])y fire, which they rcf^ard as so 
many divinities. The red is tlie god of war, 
the ])lack of death, the green of health, tlie 
white of fine weather. I'lie patient remains 
tliere until he gives notice, by fainting, that he 
(an stay no longer; it would be a sacrilege to 
utter a single syllabic in order to be let out. It 
oiten happens that he is stifled in this manner, 
particularly if the priests of the Ci raiulc Malichic 
have any reason for wishing to get rid of him. 
An Indian Escula[)ius is like those of anti- 
quity, both high-priest and physician, so that he 
is armed with double shears to cut short the 
life of his superstitious i)atients. There were also 
other traces of offerings, which equally indicated 
the multiplicity of their Manitous. 

On the nth, I returned to the canoes, where 
we met with nothing very extraordinary ex- 
cept a terri))le storm, which upset one, and 
made us lose a part of our powder and to- 
bacco: it followed us to our camp, where we 
were deluged by it all night, our tent being 
open on both sides. I was more thoroughly 
drenched than any of the others, because the 
major, faithful to the rules of hknseauce and 
politeness, which allot the place of honour to 




1 ;J' * 

the stranger, had had the attention to place me 
on one of the two sides of the tent; in order, no 
doubt, that 1 might observe the weather at my 
ease, and reap tlie gU)ry of struggling valirntly 
against the fury of the wind, rain, hail, thunder 
and lightning. 

We travelled very* slowly by water up the river, 
which gradually became narrower and more 
rapid. The major at lenglii saw the necessity 
of sending back the canoes with a number of the 
men, who only encreased the dearth of provi- 
sions we already began to experience. Though 
I had laid in an abundant store, which I had 
thrown into the common stock, yet, at no more 
than a hundred miles from Fort St Peter, hunger 
made me envy the hermit of the Thebais the 
daily morsel of bread brought him by the raven. 
These soldiers were moreover of no use what- 
ever. The major feared the Sussitons, who are 
not very friendly to the Americans, but we were 
too few to make any eifectual resistance against 
a horde of Indians of the most warlike and for- 
midable tribe, and too many for an expedition 
which had no hostile intentions, and which was 
already reduced to have its daily portion of food 
doled out. 

I have told you, that they were afraid of the 
Sussitons. Not to let your curiosity languish, I 
must tell you the reasons, were it only to throw 
additional light on the Indian character, and on 





the resistless power the passion of revenge 
exercises over them. 

Oneof these Sussitons lost two relations who 
served in the last war under the English banners 
against the United States. He resolved to revenge 
himself upon the two first Americans who fell 
into his hands. But as some time elapsed 
without any such opportunity for vengeance 
occurring, he set out with his cousin; they 
made a landing by night at Rocky Island, 
near Fort Armstrong, seven hundred miles from 
their own haunts ; there they lay in wait, and 
seized the moment when two soldiers of the gar- 
rison were walking at some distance from the 
fort, and killed them both with two well-aimed 

The government, under pretence of holding a 
council and giving presents, allured a band of 
the Sussitons to Council Bluff, and seized two 
of them, who were never seen again. A govern- 
ment founded upon wise and liberal laws ought 
to be more generous than savages ; but either it 
had no other means of reprisal and of punish- 
ment, without engaging in a murderous war 
with the whole Sioux nation, or its agents acted 
in an arbitrary and unauthorized manner. 

On the 13th we all proceeded by land. A 
prairie studded with thickets and clumps of 
trees, which broke the distance in tlie most en- 

■ 'M 





u \ 

clianting manner, was the first prospect tliat lay 
before our eyes. The artificial parks of St 
Cloud, Versailles, Richmond, or Windsor, are not 
comparable to this superb work of nature. 

In the middle of this terrestrial paradise we 
found an Indian sarcophagus, about fifteen feet 
in height. Here Mr Renville shewed us the 
direction, towards the south west, in which the 
river of the Blue Earth, Mushatohose- Watpd, falls 
into the St Peter. This is the highest point of 
the river reached by Father Hannepin and other 
travellers after him. 

The river of the Blue Eiarth is very celebrated 
among the Indians. They perform an annual 
pilgrimage to it, to collect the blue earth of its 
banks, of which they make dye and paint. At 
some distance from its sources, in the direction 
of the Missouri, they dig up a kind of red stone, 
which hardens on exposure to the air ; of this 
they make their sacred calumets. It is said 
that these two spots are inviolable, and that the 
most implacable enemies meet there in peace ; 
but this is a mere fable. The Indian never lays 
aside the pursuit of vengeance : if ever he re- 
frains iiom the open expression of it, it is only 
when he is withheld by superior force. 

In the evening we halted near a little wood 
which lies along the banks of the Lake of Swans. 
It was the season at which these beautiful 



birds cannot fly, — the old ones, because they arc 
changing their feathers ; the young, because they 
have as yet only a soft down. We might have 
had some good shooting, and the savans among 
us might have gained new and valuable Ornitho- 
logical information, but the major was intent on 
making an expedition, and consulted nothing but 
his compass : it was sufficient for him to say, 
"I have been there." On the morning of the 
14th we traversed another prairie of a perfectly 
difl'erent character. Little hillocks of the green- 
est turf formed the undulations of a sea which 
Vernet or Verdstapen would have vainly tiied 
to imitate. Isolated hills rose in the distance, 
like the pyramids of Egypt. 

At noon we passed the river St Peter at the 
spot where the river des Liards, Wagaliosii 
Watpa, joins it from the south. It is navigable 
for canoes a considerable way inland. 

In the evening, after crossing a region of equal 
beauty, consisting of alternate prairies and little 
woods, and wearing the appearance of a culti- 
vated country, we halted near a marsh which 
was covered with the dwellings of the musk rats. 
They are formed of rushes and the bark of trees ; 
they rise three or four feet out of the water, and 
these upper stories are their bedchambers. The 
part under the water serves them as a winter 
storehouse, which they fill during summer with 




I a 

I ^i 

the bark of fruit trees. They cli<^ a subterranean 
passage, the mouth of which is at a distance from 
the dwelling and in the centre of the marsh ; by 
this means they escape the vigilance of the 
hunter ; but they fall into the snares which he 
spreads around them, and into which he entices 
them by a bait of some favourite food. 

The Red Wood was our inn on the 15th. It 
is so called from a tree which the savages paint 
red every year, and for which they have a pecu- 
liar veneration. It has nothing remarkable to 
distinguish it from other trees, but every tribe 
has its favourite images, though they all repie- 
sent the same divinity, the same object of wor- 
ship. Whilst one shrine overflows with offerings, 
another has not so much as a candle burning 
before it. The fortune of the god, among the 
antients, often depended on the address of his 
minister ; perhaps i^, is the same among the 

In this tree they adore the thunder which, as 
they think, comes from the Rocky Mountains, 
separating, as we have already seen, Louisiana 
from New Mexico. This wood is situated on 
the south bank of the St Peter, and another 
river which flows into it through the centre of 
the wood descends from the same point. The 
natives call it Ciangagappi/ Watpa, i. e. the river 
of the Red Wood. I was told that the Ent^dish 




emissaries came here to offer prayers and in- 
cense, and to invoke the protection of this 
savage divinity, when, during the last war, they 
stirred up the Sioux against the United States. 
It is worth while to observe, that the pious 
British cabinet was accusing Bonaparte of apos- 
tacy to Islamism at the very time it was playing 
the part of the knavish teacher of idolatry in 
America. Opposite to this spot the Ciutambc 
Watpa, or Brandy river, which flows from the 
north, falls into the St Peter. 

We now reached a valley of the most lovely 
and interesting character. Never did a more 
striking illusion transport my imagination back to 
the classic lands of Latium and Magna Grocia. 
Rocks scattered, as if by art, over the plaia, on 
plateau.v, and on hills, were at a little distance 
perfect representations of every varied form of 
the ruins of antiquity. In one place you might 
think you saw thermal substructures, or those 
of an amphitheatre, a circus, or a forum ; in 
another, the remains of a temple, a cenotaph, a 
basilicon, or a triumphal arch. 1 took advan- 
tage of the time which chance procured me. to 
survey this enchanted ground ; but I went alone, 
that the delicious reverie it threw me into might 
not be broken by cold-heartedness or pre- 
sumption. My eyes continually met new images : 
at length they rested on a sort of tomb, which for 


i 1 


:\ I s 

U()\ HI III » I. V A I I I > 



sonu'linu' lu'ld luc motionless. ,\ tliotis;ni(lMllli(l - 
inn ri I'olli'clions mshnl to my lu'iirt : I tlioiii;lil I 
l>i'lu>l(l tlu> {o\\\h o( \ irtiu' joul of l''rirM(lsIii|t; I 
rrstt'd my lioiul upon it, ;huI tt'ars tilled my eyes. 
'I'lu' spot \v;is ol" :i kind to soUtn :md cmhi'llisli 
ixvwi'. ;md I should li:ivi' loni; i;iv('n mysril' up to 
its sweiM inlliu'iu'i* had I not \nc\\ with pr«>pJo 
uho had no idea ol* stoppini;' lor anything hut 
;i broken sa<ldle or some such important in- 

ThesiMdeks are L',ranitie. and ot so beaittiliil and 
varied a (pialitv. that the triekini; dealiMs of the 
l*ia/7.a \avt>na. at l{onu\ would si'll tluMu to tlu> 
\\\os\ iMithusiastie. and. in tlieir own opinion, — 
tlu^ most learned antiipiarians, as oriental and 
J\uy ptian porphyry or basalt , whieh an* now i;(>ne- 
rally admitted to l)e nuMtdy granite more elabo- 
ratiul by lime and by water. IS'atnri' seems to 
have lavished all her treasures on this beautilul 
valley : watered by the river St IVter, it ])os- 
sesses a fertile soil, a salubrious elimati\ hills 
and ]ilains adapted to every sort ol* eultivation, 
rivers and lakes abounding- in tish. shell-tish, and 
uame ; delieious proves and forests swarmiim- 
with deer and with animals of the riehest fur, 
and fuinishiuii- every variety oi timber for build- 
ing and cabinet work: and, added to all these 
riches, magniticent stt)ne, whieh might be worked 
with the greatest facility, and tittcd for building- 

iiivin (»i rill, viiifMv MiiiiciNi,. ;{|1) 

l>;inis. iKtiiscs, (rmplcs, or piihiccs. Mciv iu\<j;U\ 
niisr llic / VAs .lA//vy/o/(v/nr Aiiuiishis.iisllir I'liiio- 
pc'iiiis IoiiikI Ihr /W///.V A/tmt ni l\rr(» iif, IN^m ; 
mid IIm- iininciisc Mocks «»r |^M;milc sciilhiicd here 

JIImI lllCIf Willi Midi |»l(hin;s(|||(. nc;^r|iu(.|„.,.^ 

mi,L;lil Willi siiiiill aid IVom llic cliiscd Im; liiiscd to 
rival llic |>yiimiidsor.VI<iii|)|iisoil'id)iiyiii. VVIicn 
I avv(.kc IVoiii Ihf drijiiii of all lliat this favoiind 
valley nii^lil hccomc, I was sinick l)y Icclin^rH | 
cannol dcsciibc ai lis awful and dcscil stillness 
- fi'diiiMs uliici, |)(i|i;,|)s no other scene could 
awaken. Here /iininerm;iii or l;i l-'ontiiine iniKlit. 
i//(/<r(/ have painted solitude, with less iii<:t;i. 
physical rernieiiienl and more truth. PerliJips 
however they would he less \vdi\ ; for in all that, 
c(»neerns huniiiii aU'eetions and emotions, Jashion- 
'\U\v eariciiture, and Jiireetation will always he 
more popular than nature; and simplicity. 

On the Kith, we came to a prairie, which on 
the south liad no houndary hut the hori/on. on 
the north the valley of the St Peter, on tin; 
west the winding- valley of tlu; river of the Yel- 
low Medicine, J'c/HoUnizizia/H- Walpa, which de- 
scends from the south-west and falls into the St 
Peter on its southern shore. On the opposite 
side is the river of the Jmnpers, A/aimikan- 
Wdlpi), which flows from the north. \n this 
prairie we met two Indians; they told us some 


i i 




-- °"'^ ^Tri :::.:'»::>•,...— 

rtiet was a l.ttlo "'so'i y^,,,,,^ 

slice of baa salt n^at 1 1- n^e ^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^ 

MccUcine is so ^a"-^^ ""^J „,,, ..vested 

"?:enty .Ues .0. t,-o J passe. tUe 

merly abounded m t'°^" ,^^^j,i, 
descends from the we t. A a sho 

its mouth is the ^«''A"''"';;^^,.„ ,b„»t six- 
teen miles m lengrt^ fi • d J ^^^^ ^^^^ ^„, 

land for ^^''o"* =^"^;\^- ^^^^ ,f p.eeipiees, Skam- 

After passmg the '"^\°.-\,,o,„,a-hosc- 

,„„.Wutp.), the nver ""^^^"^^ the Potatoes 

Wotpl on the southern "-^^^"^ ^^ ^^.^^ ^, 


MA J OK I.ON(J S Hl>ttC II. 




t St 

[ the 

t from 
tit six- 
ws out 
nd the 

se who 
ivel by 


side, we 


Ali'dc, also formed by the St Peter, which runs 
ill on the north, and out on the \l. S. K. It is 
larger and wider than tlie preceding one. 

A numerous party of" that tribe of the Sioux 
called the Wakd/nto/ia/i, or l*eople of the Leaf, 
who were encamped there, came to meet us and 
invite us to a feast. I was very sorry that the 
haste in which it was prepared had unfortu- 
nately deprived us of the dish of etiquette — a 
dog — which they had not had time to flay and 
season. The 'lUnger by which wc were tor- 
tured made us feel this as a most cruel priva- 
tion. We devoured whatever they gave us, and 
everything ai)p< ued to me delicious, even some 
roots which they call prainc-potatocs, and which 
I had before thought detestable. 

The major pronounced a speech, which ap- 
peared probably very good to his government, 
whose power, greatness, and generosity, he 
greatly extolled ; but very bad to the Indians, 
since it concluded with the information that he 
had nothing to give them ; and accordingly 
neither the chiefs nor anybody else made the 
slightest answer. When the interpreter ex- 
plained to them that " the United States were 
composed of twenty-four fires, (meaning thereby 
twenty-four states,) without reckoning the dis- 
trict of Colombia, in which is the seat of the 
grand congress and of the grand general admi- 

VOL. If. Y 

J f 



nistration, and the residence of the great father, 
the president ; — that they were peopled with so 
many millions of men, who were thriving by 
means of commerce and agriculture, and lived 
in wealth and plenty," 8ic. &c. — some yawned, 
others looked contemptuous ; and when he added 
that *' the expedition was going to trace the 
remote boundaries of the American territory," 
all looked greatly annoyed. Even savages, it 
seems, a^e not very fond of seeing other people 
play the master in their country. 

These Indians have a very ferocious and war- 
like aspect. A great proportion of them are 
mounted, but, like the nations of the remotest 
antiquity, have neither saddle nor stirrups ; they 
have only a skin girt over the horse's back, like 
the ve6'tis stragida, or the strata of the Romans. 

On the evening of the 1 7th, we stopped at the 
middle of the lake, just where it takes a northern 
direction, where a magnificent wood and a mi- 
serable little trader's settlement are crossed by the 
river of the White Herons, or Ilokazamhh- V/atpa, 
which falls into the lake on the southern side. 
The soft murmur of these limpid waters, the 
sight of Indian tents and huts scattered here 
and there, and shaded by majestic trees, added 
to the charms of this truly picturesque spot. 

Three miles above the end of the lake, still 
keeping on to the northward, we crossed the 



St Peter, now a mere ditch. At this point 
all the canoes stop and unload their merchan- 
dize ; it is transported hither across a prairie of 
six miles to the N. N. W., where we arrived on 
the 18th. 

We landed at the only hut ; it is an establish- 
ment formed by some Scotchmen, who have 
deserted the English North- West and Hudson's 
Bay Companies. Mr Renville is one of the 

As these gentlemen naturally come in compe- 
tition with the South-West American Company, 
they must have sunk at the very outset under 
the weight of its powerful jealousy ; but with 
the address and cunning for which their nation 
is so pre-eminent, wherever money is to be 
made, they have got some Americans to join 
them and to lend their names, and have chris- 
tened this the Fur Colombian American Com- 
pany : they have consequently obtained a licence 
to trade from the superintendant of the savages. 
In spite of all their dexterity, however, I think 
they will be obliged in the end to capitulate with 
the South-West Company, and to put them- 
selves under its protection. 

This situation is extremely advantageous for 
the fur trade ; the traders are quite in the midst 
of the Sioux, and can push their speculations up 
to the Missouri and the Colombia, provided that 






the Russians, who have taken possesvsion of the 
mouth of the latter river, will let them. 

The sources of the St Peter are situated at 
about twenty miles from this lake, towards the 
north-west. It would have been interesting to 
rcannwiln' them, were it merely to fix the lati- 
tude and longitude, and ibr the glory of being 
the first to behold them, — but they were not on 
the route of the expedition, and were therefore 

They spring from the foot (^f u chriin of hills, 
which the Indians call the Hills of the Prairies, 
because they run due north and south across 
those vast ])rairies lying between the Missouri 
and the St Peter, from the mountains of the 
Great Eagle to the sources of Blue Earth river. 

I am likewise deprived of the satisfaction of 
informing you of the exact geographical posi- 
tion of this place (Lake Travers,) for the major 
carefully concealed it from me : he no doubt had 
his reasons for this, which I shall not enquire 

The distance from Fort St Peter is nearly two 
hundred and eighty miles by land N. N. W. 
and four hundred by the river, which is very 

This lake and the sources of the St Peter are 
upon the high lands which separate the waters 
flowing southward from those which take a 

LAKE IRA V Jills. 





northward course ; and, in fact, the waters of 
the lake and those of the St Peter cross in op- 
posite directions—the former flows into the Red 
river, and consequently into Hudson's Bay, the 
latterby the Mississippi into theGulphof Mexico. 

Lake Travers is on one of the highest points 
of North America, and is not formed by any af- 
fluence or confluence of tributary streams. AH 
around it are prairies and eternal plains ; nor can 
one guess whence it can derive its waters. This 
surprise is augmented by the total absence of all 
traces of an extinct volcano, and indeed the 
shallowness of its bed excludes all conjecture of 
the kind. Its length from south to north is 
about fifteen miles ; its greatest width two miles. 
Two islands, frequently inhabited by Indians, 
form a beautiful ornament to it, and its banks, 
diversified by wood and meadow, are extremely 

The great Wanathil, whom I introduced to 
your acquaintance when I gave you the numbers 
of the Sioux, came to receive us on our arrival, 
and invited us to a feast. He had been informed 
of our coming before-hand, so that a dog had 
been immolated, and already smoked on the altar 
of the god of hospitality. Famished as we were, 
we should have thought it delicious, and should 
probably not have left even that portion which 
the Indians distribute after the banquet among 






HANQi'i r or riii: cur, Ar wanatha. 

:M 1 

■ i 


the pliysirnlly and monilly (lisoasrd, as ii ro- 
mcdy i'or all evils, had not the flesh of the 
bnlValo earried oti' all our votes. L t)iiu;hl: here 
to remark to you, that the do^', on \vha(ever 
oeeasion they saerihee it, is always an olVer- 
ing" to the IManitous, and the eatinp;' of it is no 
less an aet ol' devotion, just as the priests of 
antiquity lived jollily en the vietims ottered by 
true believers on the altars of their divinities. 
We should therefore liave given great seandal 
by the preference we showed for buHalo flesh, 
had we not fortunately been at the table of a 
king, who. like most kings, was not over seru- 
pulous in religious matters, exce])t where his 
interests required that he should be so. 

The major preached him a sern\on, as acade- 
mical as the former, touching the sublime quali- 
ties, physical and moral, of his government — for 
1 must do the Americans the justice to say that, 
as to modesty, they have not in the least dege- 
nerated from that which distinmiishes the mother 
country. But as the conclusion of this harangue 
was not more satisfactory than that of the others 
his majesty did not even deign to look at him ; 
and while the interpreter was explaining the 
doctrines of political economy, he amused him- 
self by laughing, with an air of right royal non- 
chalance, with his highness the hereditary prince, 
who was lying on the ground by his side. 



The u^cntlcnicn of the Colombian Company re- 
ceived us with great j)oliteness, and during the 
tluee (lays we spent there himgcr was softened 
into ;ipp(>tite; l)ut new as tliey are in these plaees, 
and erain))ed for room in their huts, they are 
worse lotlg(>d than tlie Indians, who, at any rate, 
can change their dweUing every day. IJeset 
moreovi'r by the Indian women, wlio are their 
wives, a la mode dii />^/'y.v, it is impossible for them 
to avoid the lilth these fair ones import. I had 
such a horror of their dirt, that I entreated to be 
allowed to lodge in one of our tents; but the 
major, who wishes to train me to the virtue of 
[)atienee, refused to have it pitched ; and fknis 
and other vermin concurred with him in pushing 
the trial to the verge of martyrdom, lie thinks 
this perhaps a good way of carrying off any bad 
blood his conduct might occasion. 

I leave you, my dear Coinitess, to give you 
time to recruit yourself after a ramble through 
which 1 have hurried you as rapidly as 1 was 
compelled to perform it myself, and the descrip- 
tion of which must shew the haste with which I 
am obliged to put my thoughts on pai)cr. But 
you, dear Madam, seek the friend, and not the 

author, in 

Yours, &c. 



[I • '^i 

:il f I 

Selkirk Colony, Bloody River, 
August lOtk, 1823. 

Though you must be prepared to follow me a 
little farther, my dear Countess, and into regions 
where nature exhibits features less interesting 
than those we have recently beheld, yet as I lead 
you towards the cool breezes of the Pole, and 
as our adventures will be more varied, I hope 
you will find this ramble less wearisome than the 

The country we are about to traverse is one 
eternal prairie, intersected only by rivers and 
belts of wood, which edge their banks. The 
horizon is the only boundary of these immense 
plains, and the direction which every individual 
may choose towards, or between, the four cardi- 






nal points, the only road he can follow. We 
turned our faces towards the north, and have 
steadily pursued it up to this place. 

We set out on the 24th July from Lake Tra- 
vers, of which we took leave with a salute of 
musketry; this same day the buffalos mfide 
their appearance. My horse gave notice of their 
approach by the ardour with which he v/as mi- 
mated. He was the finest horse of the party, 
and as I had often dismounted and walked a 
little to rest him, he was in the best condition, 
and the most spirited in this extraordinary 

Following the traces of Mr Renville, who is 
renowned as a hunter, even among the Indians, 
I gave my horse the reins and let him go in pur_ 
suit of the first buffalo we saw. I soon came up 
with and passed him, though he was two miles 
off, and having turned him, we drove him to- 
wards our people to give them the pleasure of so 
new a scene, and I shot him before their eyes. 
At the same time Mr Yeffray, one of the gen- 
tlemen of Lake Travers, who was our guide, 
killed another at a little distance; and in the 
evening the driver, who carried my baggage in 
his M^aggon, brought us a third. For the first 
time, plenty reigned in our camp ; — there was 
no wood, but the buffalo's dung, which lay scat- 
tered about in abundance, formed an admirable 



Pf 1 








substitute. It makes an astonisliingly strong- 

The surprise I felt on a near view of this ani- 
mal was equal to my pleasure in hunting it; its 
appearance is truly formidable. In size it ap- 
proaches the elephant. Its flowing mane, and 
the long hair which covers its neck and head and 
falls over its eyes, are like those of the lion. It 
has a hump like a camel, its hind quarters and 
tail are like tJiose of the hippopotamus, its horns 
like those of the large goat of the Rocky Moun- 
tams, and its legs like those of an ox. 

The following day we found the great chief 
encamped in this prairie, near the Sioux river, 
Cidntapa-Watpu, which serves as an outlet to 
the waters of Lake Travers. He was in a new 
and very clean tent ; he offered us the tongues 
and humps of buffalos, which are great delica- 
cies, very nicely cured ; but he preserved a most 
invincible gravity and taciturnity. Whenever 
we turned our eyes, we saw innumerable herds 
of buffalos. I begged the major to endeavour 
to induce the chief to give us the sight of a buf- 
falo hunt with bows and arrows, but he replied, 
with his usual complaisance, that he could not 

I let him go on : and Mr Renville prevailed 
on the chief to satisfy my curiosity. We gal- 
loped towards a meadow which was perfectly 




black with them. My horse, who now regarded 
neither rein nor voice, plunged into the centre of 
the herd, dividing it into halves, and turned 
several of them. The chief, who followed me 
with Mr Renville, let fly his arrow and shot a 
female buftalo ; she still endeavoured to escape, 
but the motion ( f her body in running caused the 
arrow to sink deeper into the wound, and when 
she fell the whole barb had entered. 

Never did I see attitudes so graceful as those of 
the chief. They alternately reminded rae of the 
equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Ca- 
pitol, and that of the great Numidian king. Al- 
together it was the most astonishing spectacle I 
ever saw. I thought I beheld the games and com- 
bats of the ancients. I played nearly the same 
part as the Indians of former ages, who thought 
the first European they saw on horseback was a 
being of a superior order ; while the chief with his 
quiver, his horse, and his victim, formed a group 
worthy the pencil of Raphael or the chisel of 
Canova. I was so enchanted by this living model 
of classical beauty, that I forgot my part in the 
chace, and was only aroused to a recollection of it 
by the voice of the chief, who pointed to a young 
buffalo, which I fired at and killed. His majesty 
did me the honour to say I was an excellent 
shot. Any one of our grands veneurs who should 
receive such a compliment from one of our kings. 




siK A lAciMs (»r rill worvivs. 



would lu' iinin<)it!ili/(Ml, jiiul llu* conrt pocfM 
would dispute Ihc honour orcclchralin}; his {^io- 
rirs. IMr Urnvillo killed a hiiD'ido. 

Wolves idsoappeaivd on thcs('tMU% and CornuMl 
very t'urions i>pisodes inlimal(>lv connected with 
llu> principal action, accordint;- to all the rules of 
the I'ipopea. 

These animals are as I'ond of the delicious tlesh 
of the huil'alo as man ; but, as they are too weak 
(o attack, they t'mploy cunninu^ to entrap him. 
AVherever they see hunters, they immediately 
follow in their track and take whatever advantage 
circumstances may chance to atVord. Sometimes 


they vet;ale tiiemselves upon the oiVal which is 
left on the field ; sometimes they follow those 
which tlu\y see have been wounded, and which 
the hunters do not go in j)ursuit of; on this occa- 
sion they showed quite a new contrivance. Three 
of them joined our charge u])on the great herd, 
and at the moment the females were so occupied 
in making their own eseajie that they could not 
defend their young ones, each wolf seized ui)on 
a calf, strangled it, and dragged it oti'thc field : 
when we had got to a little distance they re- 
turned and regaled themselves with their prey. 
When they arc pressed by hunger, and no hun- 
ters come to their aid, they have recourse to 
another stratagem still more surprising. They 
approach five or six of a herd without appearing 




t(» liJivc iuiy (lesion, ,,f ;,H;,(|<in^r tlM-rii. 'I'ho 
Imlliilos, who do not condc sccnd lo lie nlVjiid, 
|)iiy no iitlcntion lo llicin wliiihivcr - - they 
ncilluir iivoid nor ;itl,ack llicin. TIk; wolves 
then sin-rlc ,„,( 11,,.),. victim, which is alwayH 
51 Ccniiih', ns the most (U-hcions food, jirid 
invjinuMy the iUtlcst of the herd. Whilst two 
or three kiiep her attention en^^'^(^(;d in fV,,„f 
hy |)reten(lin<r to pjny with her, one of tlu; 
stron^a-st ;md most ;ictiv(! seizes her IxJiind 
\)y the teats, and when siu! tarns round to drive 
liim otr, those in front fly at her throat and 
stran^de her. Sometim(;s, however, all their 
wiles are ahortivi;. lint we must n-join our party ; 
they arc ^'cttin«r on, while wc; loiter wondering,' 
at the ceaseless varieties of nature. Mr Ken- 
ville put me upon tluiir track and returned to 
rejoin the chief, who meanwhile was procuring 
a larger su[)ply of victims for his family to fi;jy 
and cure. 

At this ])lacc Mr Renville took his leave of 
the expedition ; business prevented his accom- 
panyinjr vis fartlier. I found them encamped 
near a little wood, which occurred most provi- 
dentially to furnish us with the means of drying 
ourselves after a terrible storm which had 
drenched us to the skin. 

On the 27th at noon, we reached the conflu- 
ence of the Sioux river, and what is called the 




cKocjuAPiiiCAi. riiArp. 


Red river ; and lierc I must detain you a mo- 
ment to ])<)int out a geograi)hical error, or ratlier 

('harles IT, kinu^ of Enj^land, by a charter of 
the year 1G7(), granted what did not belong to 
him ; and as men wiUingly profit by abuses 
which favour their views, he sheltered himself 
under the authority of Borgia, that is to say, 
under the right of iliscoverij, which that infamous 
pontitf had proclaimed. Sanctioned by such a 
principle and such a charter, prince Robert and 
his associates, under the name of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, appropriated not only the exclu- 
sive fur trade of these countries, but also all the 
lands lying near or beyond Hudson's Bay; 
though that bay had been discovered by the 
Danish navigator Auschild, before Hudson visited 
it, and though parliament refused to confirm the 

They afterwards affected to consider this pro- 
perty as extending to the sources of the Red 
river, and over all the lands washed by the 
various rivers which fall into it ; and as the 
course of the Red river was not long enough and 
did not receive a sufficient number of tributary 
streams for the wishes of these gentlemen, they 
baptized the river we are now considering under 
the same name ; and geographers, who often lay 
dow^n maps w^ithout having been out of their 


iu:iN i)i,i;ii c II ACE. 


own parish, or with venal instruments, hiive 
sanctioned the cheat. Accortlin*,^ to them there 
are consecjuently two Red rivers, at no great 
distance, the one of wliicli Hows into the other. 
This then into whieii the Sioux river falls, is 
not the Kcd river, but the river Acoau/uamm/fi, 
as the (Jypowais call it, or the river of the 
Ottcr's-tail, from its having its source in the 
lake of that name. The Sioux know it under 
the name Kahmocuajn-lVatpd, or the river of 
the Falls, from tiie number of them which occur 
on its issuing from the lake. 

In the afternoon we decL^ricd a herd of deer 
grazing at a distance. Mr Yetfray followed me, 
and as my horse with all his spe(!d could not 
have overtaken them, we had recourse, like the 
wolves, to stratagem. We crept towards them on 
our hands and knees, and hanging our bridles on 
our right arms, our horses followed us, and so 
effectually engaged their attention, that we were 
enabled to approach them near enough, though 
on the middle of the meadow, to fire upon them. 
We killed one. It was a magnificent animal of 
the most exquisitely beautiful and graceful form. 
It is one of the same family as the rein-deer, 
and like them may be tamed and trained for the 
cart or the sledge. It was a female, and beino- 
consequently without horns, was precisely like 
a fine English horse. Mr Yeffray skinned it, and 





•-?r" -«i. 



we carried off as much of the flesh as we could ; 
it is delicious food. You ask which of us had 
the honours of the chace. We fired at the same 
instant, on my giving the word ; so that the size 
of the ball alone could decide : and on this 
evidence the glory was adjudged to me. 

Night overtook us, and the distant fires of the 
camp were our only guide to the expedition. 
On our arrival we found it in great consterna- 
tion. Our companions had met a band of Sioux. 
The major thought he read hostile intentions in 
their faces ; he even thought they had threatened 
him ; — of course everybody else thought so too 
— like Casti's courtiers, who perfectly agreed 
with his majesty that it rained torrents, though 
the sun was then shining in a,ll its briUiancy. It 
was incumbent on me, therefore, to be very 
much alarmed too ; and, for the first time since I 
had been in America, I girded on my sword in a 
warlike manner. But as in spite of the major's 
indiscretion in telling these Indians that we 
were behind with our horses, (the greatest 
temptation to their cupiditj'^) they had not at- 
tacked us, which they might have done with 
the greatest ease ; and as he had stationed four 
or five sentinels round the camp, who made 
noise enough for three times their number, I 
thought the danger could not be very great, and 
lay down quietly to sleep under a cart. At 




midnight, however, I was awakened. The camp 
had begun its march, or rather flight. The 
major's agitation was not yet calmed, nor did 
we halt until the 28th at noon, when we stopped 
on the banks of the Otter's-tail river, at the 
point where the Wild Oats river, or Sau- Watpd, 
falls into it from the west. During the night we 
had crossed two other small rivers, which 
descend from the east, the Perelle, or Wai/ecei- 
(loshu-Watpd, and the Strong Wood river, or 
Ciontanka-Watpd. The heat was terrible, and 
we felt it the more from the extreme coldness of 
the nights. Fahrenheit's thermometer some- 
times reached 94, 96, and 98, in the day, and 
fell to 58 in the same night. 

1 reposed again under the shelter of a cart, 
for in the woods the musquitos are perfectly de- 
vouring. To crown all, I could not bathe; the 
river is so muddy that one sinks up to the neck 
in the bottom. 

The Indians, who gave us such a breathing, 
were the very same who had feasted us at the 
lake of the Big Rock. I rather think the 
fright they threw the major into was in revenge 
for his giving them nothing but boring speechel 
If they meant it so, they had every reason to be 
satisfied ; for from that time forward he would 
not suffer us to hunt buffalos, for fear of irritating 
the Indians ; and in order to station advanced 



VOL. H, 



1 ; 





posts and vedettes round the camp, he had 
levied a general conscription on the whole party, 
which lasted till within a day's march of 

You would have laughed heartily, my dear 
Countess, to hear me call ** Who goes there?" 
and '* AITs well,''' when I was sentinel. The 
geese who saved the Capitol did not give the 
word better. 1 never thought it would be my 
lot to mount guard /// English — but it is the 
fate of us poor Italians, when under arms, to use 
all watch-words but our own. 

Regions which have never been traversed by 
any other wanderer, nor by any former expedi- 
tions, demand greater geographical detail than 
is consistent with the limits of a letter, or with 
my ordinary indolence. I therefore tell you of 
all the rivers in our route, and I have even the 
patience and the courage to make you read all 
their savage names. I am anxious to give the 
savaus, the Hellenists, the Orientalists, &c. 
who swarm in your circles, an opportunity of 
guessing or inventing an origin for these tribes 
from some analogy of language. 

The rivers we crossed on the 29th and the 
30th, days very barren in incidents, are the 
Kauta- Watpd, or river of Plums — where not 
only there were no plums but no water, and we 
were dying of thirst; and the Katapa-Watpo , or 



':' I 


river of Buffalos. This, unlike the former, was 
appropriately named, so that my horse would 
have several times disregarded the Major's pro- 
hibition, if I had not called him strictly to order. 
We also crossed a third, the river of Wild Oats ; 
these all fall into the Otter's-tail river on the 
eastern side. The Cayenne river, or Kaijocs- 
Watpd, so called from the name of the people who 
formerly inhabited its shores, and whom the Sioux 
have driven in the direction of Columbia ;— the 
river of Elms, or Kousion- Watpd, from the num- 
ber of trees of that species, of extraordinary 
height, which shade its banks ; — and the Bus- 
tard's river, or Magassan- Watpd, from the birds 
which frequent it, all flow from the west : the 
Kayocs river is of considerable size. 

On the 31st of July we reached the real Red 
river, which descends from the east from the 
lake of the same name, and receives, fifteen 
miles below the spot where we crossed it, the 
Otter's-tail river, miscalled the Red river by the 
Hudson's Bay Company, the sources of which 
are to the S.S.E. of its confluence. 

Geographers tell us that it takes its name 
from the red sand or gravel which covers its 
bed; but there is nothing red about it. The 
origin of its name is widely different : red, to be 
sure, had something to do with it, but a red 
arising from very difl'erent causes. 



• ih' 


it^-ni'-^^-^Hf'^^ • 





i*. : 


This river, and the lake from which it springs, 
form the frontier line which separates the terri- 
tory, or pretended territory, of the Sioux from that 
of the Cypowais, or at least the line upon which 
they have always met and still most frequently 
meet. It may easily be imagined then that the 
waters of a stream so situated, must have often 
been ** red with the blood of the slain," and 
that it has thus received from both the contend- 
ing parties the name of the Bloody river, — in 
the Sioux language Manhcia-Watpd ; in the 
Cypowais, Sahaguiaigney-S'ibi. The lake is in 
like manner called the Bloody lake. 

Beyond this river we saw no more butfalos. 
The country becomes less open ; the underwood 
and scattered thickets make them fear the am- 
bushed hunter , but in winter, when they find 
no food in the vast prairies, — bare of all trees and 
shrubs, and the grass of which is yearly burnt 
down by the Indians, — they frequently repair 
thither to browse on the buds and sprouts, which 
form their principal food, as well that of the 
horses, when the terrible frosts destroy all other 

Hitherto, my dear Madam, you have only 
seen the manner in which buffalos are hunted 
on horseback ; but, as the Indians are not all 
mounted, there are other very curious modes. 
Before we leave these regions, therefore, which 



I shall in all probability never see again, let us 
sit down on the banks of this delightful river, 
under the shade of these beautiful trees, and 
study the singular characteristics of this animal ; 
let us also observe its haunts, since fate has led 
us to them, and v/e shall have more correct and 
vivid conceptions of both than we could form 
from the books of the most learned naturalists. 

You have seen that buffalos feed in the midst 
of wolves without fear, either becausp. they dis- 
dain them, or because beasts, like men, must 
fulfil their destiny. The Indians take advantage 
of this fact to disguise themselves like wolves, 
creep near them on hands and knees, and pierce 
them with their arrows. They choose these 
M^eapons for the ease with which they can hide 
their quivers under their bodies, while, on the 
contrary, their gun is in the way. Besides, the 
noiseless stroke of the arrow does not alarm, 
and enables them to multiply their victims ; 
they spare powder and shot, and always recover 
their arrows when they flay their prey. When 
the savages hunt in this manner in a party, each 
has his arrows marked as in battle, and by 
this means it is at ier wards ascertained who have 
been the most valiant and successful marksmen ; 
and, if any individual hunts apart, he takes pos- 
session of the animal which has been killed by 
the arrow bearing his mark. 









In the season when nature renews their loves, 
the Indians wrap themselves in buffalo's skins, 
and imitating their lowing, entice the females, 
who approach without fear, but meet with 
wounds and death. Sometimes, under the 
same disguise, they decoy them into an enclo- 
sure, where they slaughter them. 

When the ice on a river is not very thick, 
they go behind a herd and terrify them by 
firing guns, while one of them, disguised like 
a buffalo, gets in front and runs across the 
river to the opposite bank. The whole herd 
follows ; for they are like the sheep of Panurge, 
where one goes, all go ; the ice, which is not 
strong enough to bear such a multitude, breaks, 
and the confusion which ensues affords abundant 
opportunity to the Indians to rush out of their 
hiding places and seize their prey. The Indians 
also creep on all-fours through the grass, as we 
did, and shoot them with muskets or bows. 

In whichever way the buffalo is hunted, it is 
necessary to come upon him against the wind, 
otherwise he scents his human pursuer from afar, 
and avoids, even without seeing him. 

It is very dangerous to fire at him when 
asleep, for if he is only wounded, he rises with 
a bound and rushes on the hunter with resistless 
force. When he sees one of his favourites 
wounded, he sometimes combats as if to protect 



her flight, covers her with his body if she cannot 
escape, and dies at her side, the victim of heroic 

The female is faithful to her chosen companion 
until the birth of the fruit of their union ; while 
he, on the contrary, divides his affections among 
a seraglio of mistresses. This is a distribution 
of nature to secure the perpetuity of the species ; 
for, by one of her incomprehensible laws, the 
number of males in proportion to the females is 
prodigiously small, although the latter, both by 
the delicacy of the flesh and the superior quality 
of the skins, are the only marks for both wolves 
and hunters ; out of a hundred killed, there are 
not perhaps three males. This month is the 
season of their courtship. It is very curious to 
see the buffalo pay his court to the sultana of 
the moment. He dances round her in a circle 
like a horse in the manage, while she stands still 
in the centre and expresses her approbation of 
his suit in gentle lo wings. 

The Indians, especially those who are called 
the People of the Wide Country, those, namely, 
who roam to the remotest parts of these im- 
mense prairies, and who, as I have already told 
you, find almost all their wants supplied by the 
buffalo, venerate this dance as the harbinger of 
plenty and the palladium of their independence. 
Indeed, in the absence of all other animals, and 






« .' 

• IH 

hi u 

in so open a country, they would often bo re- 
duced to the extremity of famine were it not for 
the resources furnished them by this invaluable 
creature. By a very natural association, it be- 
comes an object of religious observance and 
celebration, and the dance which they call the 
buffalo dance, in which they imitate its gestures 
and lowing, can be performed by none but those 
who have been initiated into the mysteries of 
the Grand Medicine. 

There are seasons in which the buffalos dis- 
appear. They migrate like birds of passage, 
but less regularly, and sometimes the time of 
their return is looked for in vain. Then follows 
a year of scarcity. 

The Indians have not yet discovered to what 
cause to attribute these absences. Sometimes 
also it happens that they suddenly vanish in a 
most incomprehensible manner. These peculi- 
arities in the buffalo's movements rouse the In- 
dians from their usual habits of inertness, and 
of living fiom day to day, into some exertions 
to guard against the consequences, — which are 
not only famine, but total want of tent, bed and 
clothing, — by preserving the flesh and the hides. 
They prepare the latter better than our tanners, 
with no other implements than the bones of the 
animal. The flesh they cut into very long and 
slender strips, which they dry in the sun or 

. in 

uiVKii OF tub: maush. 


smoke, and roll them up into balls so closely 
that they keep perfectly well for years. 

We must proceed on our way, dear Madam. 
It is hard to leave these beautiful limpid wa- 
ters, falsely said to be red; but perhaps we 
shall find them again higher up, for the project 
of wandering on in quest of the sources of the 
Mississippi has always been the principal whet- 
stone to my ardour and perseverance. 

You must have been puzzled to guess how I 
have found time for this long chat with you . Every- 
body, you know, has his good genius. Mine 
upset two waggons belonging to the expedition 
in very troublesome places, so that I gained all 
the time the Major lost. 

The 1st of August was tremendously hot, 
though the night had been very cold. This was 
the more unwelcome, as we were without water 
all day. The river Ciokan - Watpd, i. e. the 
river of the Marsh, at which we hoped to slake 
our thirst at noon, was partly dry ; even mud 
would have been very acceptable, but there was 
none. In the evening, when we reached a stink- 
ing ditch, we acted the pendant of Domenichino's 
wonderful picture of the Hebrews thirsting in 
the desert. We fell upon this ditch pble-melc, — 
men, dogs, and horses. One threw himself flat 
on his belly and dipped his mouth into it, ano- 
ther his cap, another his hands or his hat. We 






quarrelled for precedence, but the horses had 
decidedly the most powerful means of enforcing 
their pretensions, of which I retained convincing 
proofs in my right foot for at least ten days 
afterwards. The mud decorated our faces most 
beautifully, and the filthy water left us a pair of 
mustaches ; to complete our graceful air, we 
were almost all lamed by the kicks we got from 
our horses. What an accommodation it would 
be to expeditions of this kind, if the Jews of 
Amsterdam would lend them the tip of Moses' 
rod, which they keep in their sanctum satwto- 
rum. Perhaps, on inoderate tcnns, they would. 

On the 2nd, we crossed the river called the 
Two Rivers, Nipa- Watpd; and on the 3rd arrived 
at the celebrated colony, called Pembenar, from 
the name of a river which descends from the 
west and falls into the Red river at this spot. 
The Indians call it Wettacia- Watpd. 

Reckoning from the confluence of the Otter's- 
tail, the Red river also receives on the same 
side (the west) the Tortoise river, Atkasia- 
Watpd, — the river of Salt, Moiiscouya- Watpd ^ 
and the Menissiceya-Watpd, or river of the 
Park, so called from one of the Indian enclo- 
sures I described to you above. 

This colony, or its skeleton, has been the 
scene of every species of fraud, crime, and atro- 
city. It is one of those hideous monsters which 




avarice and selfishness give birth to wherever 
they direct their steps. 

It is a pity, my dear Madam, that I am 
not a traveller clans les regies ; I should have a 
fine field for eternal narrations in these remote 
settlements, which are as little exposed to the 
view of morality or authority as of the world at 
large ; but as it is, I can give you nothing but a 
slight sketch. You will be the better able to 
judge of the incidents I am going to relate to 
you, if I first trace out the scene of action. 

The Red river divides the colony, which 
extended to this spot, but which began sixty 
miles lower down, directly on the north, near 
the place where the river of the Assiniboins falls 
into the Red river from the west. From this 
confluence the Red river flows on thirty miles 
farther, still in a northerly direction, and falls 
into lake Winipeg. This lake at its farther 
extremity in length, (which is three hundred 
miles from the south to the N.N. W.) discharges 
itself into Hudson's Bay by a great outlet or 
natural canal, which flows to the N. N. E. for 
about two hundred miles, and which the Eng- 
lish called Nelson river, from the captain who 
first built a fort at its mouth. 

The Hudson's Bay Company, in spite of the 
great concessions it had claimed and obtained in 
virtue of the charter I have mentioned, had not 

\ -h 





extended its commerce much above lake Wiiii- 
l)e<^ before the year 1806: but its mem])ers, 
jealous of the thriving state of the North- 
West Company, which, as you have seen in my 
third and fourth rambles, was daily gaining 
ground, at length devised means to check its 
progress and to push their own speculations. 
The project of a colony was found to otl'er the 
most certain means of accomplishing both these 
ends. The times were propitious ; for a great 
number of people were quitting England, S ot- 
land, and Ireland. It was the policy o» ihc 
English government to favour the scheme, in 
order that this torrent of emigrants might not 
encrease the population of the United States, 
already a source of alarm to England. 

But to impose on the credulity of adventurers 
and speculators, something brilliant must be got 
up to dazzle and excite the imagination. Accord- 
ingly, lord Selkirk, a Scotch earl, of high birth 
and great fortune, was made choice of, and pre- 
tended to be associated in the enterprise. He was 
publicly given out to be possessed of greater 
wealth and higher qualities than he actually pos- 
sessed ; he was proclaimed a tender father oioi\\QY 
colonies formed by him in Canada; colonies 
which (par parentliese) had all failed. In 1811, 
the company pretended to sell him a vast tract 
of land on the Red river. To this land their title 





was still worse than that of Charles II, inasmuch 
as the charter granted only ** the lands within 
the entrance of the streights commonly called 
Hudson's Streight;" nor had the aboriginal in- 
habitants ever given their consent to the occu- 
pation of them. 

This farce was very well calculated to impose 
on the blind ; but the North- West Company, who 
were very clear-sighted, and had their agents in 
the very centre of government, were not so easily 
gulled. They quickly perceived that the great 
lord was only a puppet moved at the will of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. They beheld this 
scheme in the light of a premeditated attack 
upon their interests, and an attempt at esta- 
blishing an exclusive and arbitrary monopoly. 

They could not however prevent the founda- 
tions of a settlement being laid by Mr Miles 
Macdonnell, and a few Highlanders from lord Sel- 
kirk's Scotch estates. This took place in 1812, 
near the confluence of the Assiniboin, where 
the North- West Company had for many years 
had a fort; but they immediately set to work to 
undermine the new settlement in every possible 
way, and, in the first instance, by exciting the 
animosity and jealousy of the savages against the 
settlers. But as the savages now received a 
double share of bounties, and as the company 
discovered that half measures are good for no- 





11 i 

M i 

thing, a large meeting of the partners assembled 
in 1814 at Fort William on lake Superior, one 
of their large establishments, where they con- 
certed a plan for the destruction of the rival 

From its very origin the North-West Com- 
pany had obliged every Canadian in its service 
to marry (a la mode du "pays) one of the Indian 
women, hoping by this means to attach them 
for ever to these deserts and forests, and to raise 
up a breed of obsequious emissaries and slaves. 
They succeeded; and it was to this execrable 
race, called the Bois-Bndes, from their com- 
plexions, — of a darker brown than that of the 
savages; — and to leaders, the most honest of 
vhom had bjen two or three times under 
sentence of the laws, that the execution of 
this plan was entrusted. From that time the 
mask was thrown off, and war declared on both 

I will spare your benevolent heart the recital 
of horrors committed by both parties, from which 
humanity recoils. It is sufficient to know that 
the colony was beaten and dispersed in the June 
of 1815; and that, having rallied, it vv^as finally 
destroyed in the same month of the following 
year. Governor Semple, the successor of Mr 
Macdonnell, who had been made prisoner the 
preceding year, was massacred, together with 

i ) 




twenty of his men, and the fort taken and 

Meanwhile his lordship had arrived in Canada 
from England. He asked for troops to go to 
the succour of his colony, which he declared to 
be under the protection of government, and to 
arrest the offenders who had polluted the Eng- 
lish territory by such horrible crimes. But the 
governor-general, who lent a more favourable 
ear to the golden arguments of the North- West 
Company than to the feeble voice of his lord- 
ship, would grant him no assistance. Lord Sel- 
kirk then instituted legal proceedings, but means 
were taken to place men upon the judgment- 
seat who were parties interested in the cause. 

Two powerful enemies may mutually injure 
each other, at the same time that they labour, 
without suspecting it, in favour of a third party, 
who perhaps is the friend of neither, and who 
keeps vigilant watch on all their errors. In this 
case, Machiavel, I think, advises them to unite ; 
so thought the two emperors Alexander and Na- 
poleon, at Erfurth, and the Hudson's Bay and 
North-West Companies prudently followed their 
example. They saw that the Americans re- 
joiced at their dissensions, and were ready to 
take advantage of them ; and by an act of obli- 
vion, concord, and alliance, they have concealed 
from the public and the government their crimes 

! 'Hi 

l:i I 


^» 'I 

if ! I 






and the falsehood of their pretended rights. But 
who committed the massacres? The Indians. 
And the brutal violations? The Indians. And 
the pillagings, &c. ike. It was all the Indians, 
who had never appeared on the scene. To keep 
up appearances, two or three of the unfortunate 
Bois-Bnilcs were given up to the authoritiv ,, 
who wished to make a parade of justice ; for, as 
La Fontaine says, " according as you are pow- 
erful or wretched, the judgments of courts of 
justice will make you black or white." And so 
the affair ended. 

The United Companies, however, found that 
this colony was very convenient and useful. It 
was a nursery for men, of whom they stood in 
great need for the numerous stations of their im- 
mense trade, which extends its ramifications as 
far as the Colombia ; as well as for their trans- 
ports, their internal navigation, &c. &c. These 
men too, they would pay as slaves, whereas 
'^'anadian labour was very co&tly. 

But the English, Scotch, and Irish, had al- 
ready discovered that the only fortune to be 
made in this colony was a bare maintenance, 
and that of the poorest kind ; that sometimes 
food was not to be got ; that if the soil was good, 
the locusts, or the storms, or the frosts, destroyed 
all the produce in the bud; that though only 
in the fiftieth degree, the cold was as intense as 





in Siberia; that men were frozen to death, and 
that trees and rocks were split by the frost. It 
was necessary therefore to look about among 
other nations, and they accordingly caught some 
good and credulous Germans and greedy Swiss, 
by means of the grand Prospectus, which you 
will find annexed. 

A part of these poor people died of cold or of 
distress ; others escaped, as they could, through 
fatigue, hunger and danger, and took refuge in 
the United States. I met some myself at the 
lake of the Big Rock, who were in a deplorable 
condition, as also at Fort St Peter, where the 
colonel and his officers assisted them in a truly 
philanthropic manner, and had the goodness to 
allow me a share in the heart-cheering satisfac- 
tion — (the only substantial one on earth, and 
the best ottering to the divinity) — of alleviating 
the sufferings of fellow-creatures. The few 
who remain watch, eagerly for any opportunity 
of escaping. But this is a step which cunning 
and avarice have rendered very difficult, by 
means which I will endeavour to explain. 

Whenever any money make* its appearance 
the Company carefully get it into its possession. 
It has adopted a curious ** circulating medium." 
They pay and are paid in handkerchiefs, stock- 
ings, breeches, petticoats, sl.irts, shifts, &c. 


I !! 







and if they make a fortune it must be all in 

These trumpery things are fixed at an exorbi- 
tant price, so that if they coukl succeed (which 
would be very difficult) in turning them into 
money, they would get not more than a fifth 
or sixth of what they cost. It is thus rendered 
impossible for them to get away. These poor 
people have thus been reduced to a level with 
the savages, without sharing their advantages 
or enjoying their independence. This is a 
stretch of cunning which avarice alone could 
enable men to reach. 

The colony was at first, as you have seen, 
established near the confluence of the Assiniboin, 
also called by the Hudson's Bay Company the 
Red river; but during the great troubles, de- 
tachments of it had been transplanted hither on 
account of the greater fertility of the soil, and 
the greater vicinity to the buffalos. The only 
people, however, now remaining are the Bois- 
hriilcs, who have taken possession of the huts 
which the settlers abandoned. 

Two Catholic priests had also established 
ihemselves here, but as neither the government 
nor the Company gave them any means of sub- 
sistence, they went away ; and the church, con- 
structed, like all the other buildings, of trunks 
of trees, is already falling into ruins. 

II 'i 

■■ ' ! 






Their departure is the more to be regretted as 
not only does it deprive these regions of every 
source of instruction, which could be derived 
from these ecclesiastics alone, but the Bois- 
bruleti will relapse into their former state of bar- 
barism, by losing whatever good they had gained 
from their evangelical precepts. To be just, 
we must admit that the French missionaries, 
when not Jesuits, have always and in all coun- 
tries, distinguished themselves by their exem- 
plary lives, truly conformable to their vocation. 
Their religious sincerity, their apostolic charity, 
their persuasive mildness, their heroic patience, 
and their freedom from all fanaticism and asceti- 
cism, in every country they have visited, deserve 
to be recorded in the annals of the Christian 
church. So long as the memory of Del Verde, 
Vodilla, &c. shall be held in execration by all 
true Christians, so long will those of Daniel, 
Breboeuf, &c. be regarded with that veneration 
with which they are so justly recorded in the 
history of discoveries fmd missions. Hence 
the predilection of the Indians for the French ; 
a predilection which they find almost instinc- 
tive at the bottom of their hearts, nourished 
by the traditions their fathers have bequeathed 
to them in favour of the first Apostles of Ca- 
nada, then New France, and which have tra- 
velled by way of lake Superior to this point. 

1-9 » 

' lUVi 


■ 'i i 




Lower down, at Fort Douglas, there is still a 
bishop, Monsieur Provencais. His merit and 
virtues are the theme of general praise. I was 
told that he does not mingle politics with reli- 
gion, that his zeal is not the olispring of ambi- 
tion, that his piety is pure, his heart simj^le 
and generous, lie does not give ostentatious 
])ounties at the expense of his creditors ; he is 
hosj)itable to strangers; and dissimulation never 
sullies his mind or his holy and })aternal mi- 
nistry. But as he cannot, of course, preach to 
Catholics in a manner to please the Company, it 
is much to be feared that the unfortunate inha- 
bitants will soon be deprived of their excellent 

Yesterday Charles IFs charter was mutilated 
nearly by one half. The Major took possession 
of this place. The boundary which separates 
the territories of the two nations was formally 
laid down, in the name of the Government and 
President of the United States. A number of 
Bois-bruU's were present, and seemed to ridi- 
cule the ceremony. 

There is a great division of opinions and incli- 
nations among them. An address which they 
have been recommended to present to their new 
masters, for a judge, a priest, kc. is still with- 
out signatures. They will be the partisans of 
whoever will pay them best ; 1 think, therefore, 








they will most probably desert to Fort Douglas; 
some indeed are already gone thither. The 
English, individually, are avaricious, but their 
government and public bodies, when they have 
an end to accomplish, know how to unite the 
resistless power of gold to the magic influence 
of their intrigues ; whilst the Americans are yet 
very backward in this art. 

It would be very interesting to know where- 
about we are with relation to the North Pole, 
but the Major conceals this from me with more 
care than the priests of Thibet conceal their 
Grand Lama. I know, however, that by an 
agreement between England and the United 
States, the boundary of the two territories on 
this side is fixed at the fiftieth degree. We are 
about two hundred and sixty miles from lake 

I shall conclude this letter by a scene which is 
interesting and perfectly new. The Bois-brulcs, 
who call themselves the free people when they 
are not in the service of the Company, are 
compelled to live the same sort of life as the 
savages, in order to obtain the means of subsis- 
tence ; and when urged by hunger, they unite 
in numerous bands to hunt the bufflxlo, in which 
they are sometimes joined by the hunters in the 
regular pay of the Company. Sometimes their 
toils are fruitless, but the day before yesterday 

i ;t 




I 1 

■4 i 






they returned very rich, after two months ab- 

A hundred men on liorseback opened the 
march, a Iiundred and fourteen carts, heavily 
laden with dried meat, formed the centre ; wo- 
men and children, carried or dragged by large 
dogs, brought up the rear ; for the whole family 
accompanies them, and during their hunting sea- 
son they all grow fat and strong; but they return 
to the village, and soon lose their good plight. 
It was a curious sight, the details of which 
I leave to your imagination. They ranged 
themselves in order of battle at the place 
where we were encamped, and the fair com- 

Several of these poor devils soon saw their 
carts emptied : either the Company which had 
advanced him some money, or one man who had 
let him have powder and shot, or another who 
offered him the clothes he wanted in exchange ; 
or the tinker, the carpenter, the barber, the apo- 
thecary, the tax-gatherer, all fall upon him at 
once. The meat disappears, his numerous 
family remains around him, and the usual state 
of misery and famine returns. 

The dogs deserve a few minutes of your at- 
tention. They are a great resource in this coun- 
try. In winter they perform those labours on 
the ice and frozen snow, which the horses, who 



perish of cold and hunger, cannot endure. 
During the summer, when they are not hunting 
and their owners have no food for them, they put 
them out to board with jol)bers, who feed them 
on bad fish, with which the river a])ounds, and 
thus swell the number of creditors who await 
the return of the owners from the chase. 

I have seen some very numerous boarding- 
schools of this sort: the order and discipline 
which prevail there are curious and surprising ; 
they might serve as models for some of our 
establishments of education. But a still more 
curious thing is, to see these poor animals go 
a-fishing themselves when they find that the 
dinner-bell is inconveniently delayed. They 
onclude that they have nothing to hope for from 
the head of the establishment; they therefore 
betake themselves to the banks of the river, and 
dart with the rapidity of lightning on the fish 
which swim near the shore, or on any which 
by chance may have carried off the fisherman's 
hook and line, and float dead upon the water. 

And now my dear Countess, rest awhile; for 
if I succeed in bending my steps towards the 
point which has been the object of my constant 
wishes ever since I entered these wild regions, 
we shall have long walks and much fatigue to 



If I 







' II 

l» I 



PLAN FOR sl:ndin(; 







i» f 

Eakl Selkiiik, a Scottish nobleman, of high rank andlargc 
fortune, has purchased a great extent of very fertile lands, 
situated upon the banks of the Red River, which falls into 
the great Lake Winipcg, in North America. These he pos- 
sesses with all the seignorial rights attached to them, in full 
and absolute sovereignty. Lord Selkirk is desirous of peo- 
pling these beautiful and fertile countries with honest and 
industrious inhabitants, and particularly with Swiss and Ger- 
mans. To effect this object, his lordship has commissioned, 
and invested with full power, Captain R. May, of Uzistorf, a 
citizen of Berne, in the British service, to engage persons in 
Switzerland to repair to his colony. Captain May fulfils a 
pleasing duty in communicating this information to his coun- 
trymen, persuaded that such of them as may avail themselves 
of the present opportunity, will find, in the country to Avhich 
they are invited, whatever can contribute to their comfort. 




t M 

success, or liappiiioss, provided they arc industrious and 

This colony is situated between the 49th and ^Oth decrees 
of north latitude, about two hundred a. id thirty Iea!:;ue3 south 
of Hudson's Bay, not far from the sources of tlie Mississippi. 
The climate is mild and very healthy; the winter is not 
colder nor longer than in our mountainous countries, but the 
summer is much hotter. The country consists of extensive 
plains, interspersed with mountains, not high, by no means 
rugged, and generally covered with beautiful forests. 

These immense plains are clothed with the most luxuriant 
herbage, thus forming fine natural meadows, easy of cultiva- 
tion, the settler having nothing to do but to throw up the turf 
with the plough or spade, after which he may immediately 
sow or ])lant ; the soil is remarkably fertile, the first crop 
producing from thirty-five to forty-five times the quantity of 
seed. Every species of corn, potatoes, pulse, vegetable, hemp, 
flax, tobacco, and all kinds of fruit-trees, even the most deli, 
cate, grow and thrive there in perfection. Wood, either for 
fuel or building, in short for all the purposes of life, is in the 
greatest plenty. These immense meadows maintain a pro- 
digious quantity of game of every description, and particu- 
larly innumerable herds of wild oxen, which any person is 
at liberty to kill, or to take alive and tame, thus providing 
himself with as much meat and leather as he may want. 
The country abounds in lakes and rivers filled with excellent 
fish, at the disposal of every one, both for food and traffic. 
Numerous salt pits afford to the settler an easy and abun- 
dant supply of this essential article of life and rural economy. 
The country also produces the sugar-maple, from which is 
prepared a sugar equal to the cane. In short, whatever is 
necessary to life may be attained in great plenty, with much 
facility and little labour : so that few counties ofler so 

< i 










£! hi 32.0 



1.4 1.6 






















WEBSTER, N.Y. 14S80 

(716) 872-4503 




many natural sources of comfort, wealth and happiness to 
new settlers. 

The number of families is, at present, about three hundred. 
A fortress, more than two hundred houses, saw and flour- 
mills, are already built; and, as there is no deficiency of 
artisans of every description, any one, on his arrival, r:ii>y 
procure whatever is necessary to his establishment. Europep.n 
catde, pigs, sheep, even those of the Merino breed, have 
been conveyed thither, and thrive remarkably well : the Me- 
rinos, in particular, encrease with great rapidity ; and as in 
these immense meadows every planter is at liberty to graze 
his flocks or mow the grass, he may multiply this breed of 
sheep to any extent he pleases. It is easy to form an idea 
of the sources of riches which this single article offers to the 
planter. Excellent native horses may be purchased of the 
Indians, in any number, at eight or ten crowns each. In 
short, the country supplies in profusion whatever can be re- 
quired for the convenience, pleasure, or comfort of life. It 
is also provided with great facilities for the sale of its pro- 
duce. The first market open to the settlers, is that of the 
new comers, who annually and constantly flock thither from 
all parts, and who, for many years to come, will consume 
nearly all that the settlers can produce. Besides this, the 
English Hudson's Bay Company has entered into an engage- 
ment with Earl Selkirk, to purchase from the settlers of this 
colony all the provisions or commodities it may want for its 
immense fur trade, and to pay for them the same prices as in 
England ; and, as in that country provisions are very dear, 
it is easy to conceive the profit and advantage which this ar- 
rangement offers to the planters. The same Company has 
engaged to become the agents of the colony, to export and 
convey, on the most moderate terms, all the productions of 
the colony, such as hemp, flax, wool, tobacco, &c. in its ships 

LORD Selkirk's puospectus 


to England, to sell them there for the settlers, and to remit 
the amount, either in money or goods, at their option. 

The conditions on which the planters are received and en- 
gaged are moderate, and not burdensome. 

As to the conveyance of the Swiss to the colony, each 
individual of either sex, above fifteen years of age, is to pay 
twenty-one louis, at fifteen livres, of which, however, only ten 
louis ready roney are to be paid at the time of sailing-, the 
remaining eleven louis may be paid by instalments, and at the 
convenience of the person after his arrival at the colony, 
during a term of four or five years, at an interest of five per 

Each child between ten and sixteen, is to pay seven louis 
ready money, and afterwards eight, as above. 

Each child between two and ten to pay five louis, and 
afterwards six, as ab. ve. 

For this sum. Earl Selkirk engages and promises— 

1st. To convey the planters from Switzerland to Rotter- 
dam at his own expense; to provide and have ready for 
them, a good ship, supplied with good provision and in suf- 
ficient quantity ; the embarkation to take place on their arri- 
val at Rotterdam and the vessel to sail immediately. Captain 
May engages to accompany the planters to Rotterdam ; to 
take care of them during the voyage ; to conduct them on 
board the ship, distributing and arranging them in such a 
manner as to secure them sufficient room ; to inspect the pro- 
visions, taking care that they are in sufficient quantity and of 
good quality ; in short, to adopt every measure and precau- 
tion essential to their comfort during the voyage, which, he 
assures his countrymen, he will exert every effort to render 
as agreeable as possible. 

2nd. On their arrival at Hudson's Bay, where they will 
disembark, they will find a sufficient number of boats and 



i i h 




boatmen, supplied with necessary provisions, ready to receive 
them and convey them up Nelson River and Lake Winipeg 
to the colony there, as they will be distributed in the houses 
of the settlers already established, till they have built their 
own, for which they will receive every instruction, and the 
requisite supply of wood. 

3rd. Such persons as are too poor to purchase food, will 
be supplied with provisions during the first year, or till the 
first crop. These, with their industry, will enable them to 
live, provided, however, that they contribute as much a? pos- 
sible to the support of their families, by hunting and fishing, 
for which they will receive instruction and whatever else is 
necessary; otherwise they will have no claim on this assis- 

4th. They shall be supplied with grain, potatoes, and other 
seed necessary for the fi ' wing and planting of their 
lands; for these they shall pay in kind, at the first crop. 

5th. They shall be supplied on credit, and at the most 
reasonable prices, with whatever they may want for their 
first establishment, whether furniture, kitchen-utensils, or 
implements of husbandry, &c. They shall be allowed suflS- 
cient time to repay the amount of these advances, and the 
interest at five per cent. 

6thly. To every father of a family, to every young married 
couple, and to every adult, desirous of having an establish- 
ment of his own, shall be assigned a hundred acres of land, 
to become for ever his property, and that of his descendants 
without any purchase-money or charge whatever; for which 
an annual and regular rent, equally moderate, reasonable, 
and easy to the settler, is to be paid in kind, according to 
tho following proportions : — 

For the first year, nothing. 

For the second year, twenty English bushels of wheat. 



For the third year, thirty English bushels of wheat. 

For the fourth year, forty ditto. 

For the fifth and following years, fifty ditto ; — 
making half a bushel per acre; wliich, considering the 
great fertility of the soil, is certainly very moderate, and by 
no means burdensome to the settler, particularly as this is 
the only ground-rent or charge which he will have to pay to 
the proprietor of the land ; besides, he may release himself 
from this charge whenever he r^'-^ases, by a single payment 
of five hundred bushels of wheat, in consequence of which 
he will be for ever freed from this rent, and possess his land 
exempt from all claims whatever, 

Siiould a settler bring property with him, and wish to 
purchase land instead of renting it, Earl Selkirk will sell 
him a lot, which cannot be less than one hundred, nor more 
than five hundred acres, at seventy-two baches per acre, 
which he will assign to him as his property and that of his 
heirs for ever, free from all rent charge; and he may choose 
his lot wherever he may think proper. 

If the whole purchase-money is paid before departure, 
twenty per cent shall be deducted for prompt payment; 
otherwise a third of the sum shall be paid before departure, 
the other two thirds to be paid in three instalments, with an 
interest of five per cent upon the sum remaining unpaid; one 
every year for three years. 

The number of settlers for the ensuing year may amount to 
five hundred persons, including fifty young unmarried women, 
healthy, strong, and robust, to be married to an equal num- 
ber of Swiss young men, who are already settlers at the 

A contract shall be regularly drawn up between Captain 
May, in the name of Earl Selkirk, and each settler. This 
contract shall contain whatever each party engages to per- 
form, that every one may know what he has to do, and what 




to expect. Each party shall have a duplicate, signed by' the 
said Captain May and the respective settler, in presence of 
two legal witnessess ; and this contract shall be written or 
printed on stamped paper. 

The departure shall take place at the end of April, next 
year. Whoever intends to engage is requested to apply by 
letter, post-paid, or personally, as soon as possible, to 
Captain May d'Uzistorf, at Berne. 

Beme, May 20th, 1820. 

(Signed) R. MAY D'UZISTORF, 

Captain in his Britannic Majesty's service, ami 
Agent Plenipotentiary to Lord Selkirk. 

;;■ S 

:c of 
n or 


'y by 

!, to 

e, anil 




Julian Sources of the Alississippi 
and the Bloody River, 

August ^Ist, 1823. 

I WRITE to you irom the midst of deserts, under 
the vault of heaven ; a large maple is the only- 
roof which shelters, the only closet which se- 
cludes me : the solitude— the deep silence 
around me, is interrupted only by unknown 
birds or strange and savage beasts. In this re- 
mote and central wilderness, my heart and mind 
are filled with the most delightful emotions. 
Like another Colossus of Rhodes, I can almost 
touch with either foot two of the most interest- 
ing spots on the surface of the globe : I find 
myself in a place which has been the object of 
so many researches, but which has till now 






hOJ.D 1{KS()I.I'TH)N. 



never been pressed by tlie foot of civilized man. 
This moment, next to tlmt which taught me to 
appreciate tlie treasure of friendship tiiat I have 
lost, is tlic finest of my life. 

The situation of Penibeiiar clearly ])ointed out 
to me that towards the south-east I should i)er- 
haps find what had been the object of my 
wanderings in these wild and remote regions ; 
and I immediately resolved to follow that direc- 
tion, '^ut I had great dithculties to conquer. 
Not an individual in that place knew either the 
way> or even the Red river above the point 
at which the Robber's river falls into it. Every- 
body represented to me the dangers which I was 
going to brave among the Indians, who are 
generally described as being very ferocious, and 
who are still very unfriendly to the Americans. 
I however found two Cypowais, who, ha zing 
lost one of their companions at the Cayenne 
river, were going precisely to Red lake, to sti- 
mulate and rouse his relatives and their nation 
to avenge him on the Sioux, (the Yanctons,) 
who had killed and quartered him. One of the 
BoiS'bridtSy or Fire-brands, offered to accom- 
pany me as far as the Robber's river with his 
train of dogs, to carry a small quantity of dry 
provisions which I had purchased, and my small 
luggage, and to act likewise as my interpreter. 
I instantly engaged the whole. I smothered 

"I ? 



llic rising apprehensions which some were eajrer 
to excite in my mind in order to intimidate me 
from my design, and on the 9th ult. left behind 
me Pembenar, the Major, and my horse. I sohl 
the last, as useless and burthensomc in an ex- 
cursion through unknown regions, thick forests, 
lakes, and deep rivers. With no slight regret 
I quitted this faithful friend Buffalo, the fearless 
companion of so many chaces and dangers : I 
should have been not a little glad to have kept 
him and taken him back with me to Italy, lie 
would have been a living memorial to me of in- 
teresting events, and would have excited the 
jealousy of my Bucharest, whom, if he be still in 
existence, I should thus have punished for having 
broken my thigh : could I have enclosed him in 
my portfolio, he would unquestionably have re- 
turned with me. I can safely assert, that this 
beautiful animal would appear a second Buce- 
phalus were he mounted by another Alexander, 
and would be thought by no means the most 
contemptible of senators if he belonged to ano- 
ther Caligula. I substituted for him a small 
mule, used to the country, which I hired of 
another Bois-brule. 

I cannot but gratefully acknowledge the kind- 
ness felt for me in this situation by colonel 
Snelling's son, who shewed the most friendly 
concern and apprehensions for me. He also left 





li 13 






h ■ 


the Major at the same time, not without violent 
alteication, and went back to Fort St Peter, 
by way of lake Traverse. He quitted me in 
tears, exclaiming, ** What will my father say ?" 
With considerable regret I parted from Dr Say, 
one of the naturalists attached to the expedition, 
the only one who deserved the designation. He 
is Professor of Zoology at Philadelphia, and dis- 
tinguished at once by modesty and merit. 

The expedition was intended to descend as 
far as lake Winipeg; pass up the river Wini- 
peg, and that of the woods ; ascend Rain river, 
and from Rain lake descend to lake Superior; 
then to cror>s lakes Huron, St Clair, and Erie, to 
Buffalo canal, and return by that and the New 
York road to Philadelphia. I now leave these 
gentlemen to the care of a good providence, and 
return to the subject of my own concerns and 

The two first days after our separation I ex- 
perienced only a few difficulties in passing along 
places infested by wolves, in which my Indian 
guides had to strike out for themselves the 
quickest road to accelerate the completion of their 
vengeance. Their natural compass was as exact 
as the most finished production of art and science : 
I have already mentioned with what facility they 
discover their proper route both by day and by 
night, even when the stars are concealed. 









On the third day my poor dogs, which were by 
that time exhausted by fatigue, found insur- 
mountable obstacles in the marshes and woods. 
We were compelled, therefore, to load my mule 
with nearly the whole of my baggage ; and 
I consequently proceeded in the style of St 

The interpreter informed me that it was ne- 
cessary to follow blindly and implicitly the 
savages whom we had connected ourselves with; 
for on the least contradiction they would have left 
us on the spot, I therefore in every possible way 
consulted their humours : we halted when they 
pleased ; we smoked when they desired it, 
although I never smoke myself but for form and 
ceremony ; they partook whenever they liked of 
everything eatable that I had with me ; and, 
even more than that, I frequently regaled them 
with heath-cocks, which I killed in considerable 
numbers on our way. The Indian, having 
neither powder nor ball to throw away, and 
rarely aiming at game when on the wing, is but 
little expert at this description of sport. My 
companions were, therefore, extremely aston- 
ished at the dexterity with which I brought 
down my game at almost every fire ; and I of 
course exerted my best efforts to justify the 
name which they had bestowed upon me, and 
inspire them with an imposing opinion of my 




i : 




powers. I was desirous, like the first Spaniards 
in America, to appear as a superhuman being in 
their eyes, in order to excite tlreir respect and 
submission : but the most subtle and refined 
malice has now succeeded to that species of 
simplicity which fi^rmerly distinguished them ; 
and they have become more cruel and ferocious 
in proportion as they have discovered that white 
men regard them as an inferior (wa/c to themselves, 
appropriate their lands under pretence of de- 
fending them, and, while affecting to confer 
favours by engaging in commerce with them, 
degrade them into mere slaves of their own 
avarice. They denominated me the Great 
Warrior ; and when an explanation was asked 
of them, at my request, they answered that they 
had dreamed I was such ; and their dreams are 
ever considered by them as infallible. You 
must now, therefore, regard me as Kitci/ Oki- 

On the fourth day I killed a young white bear, 
and one of the Indians killed another : the dam 
had apparently incurred the same fate, for we 
sought for her in vain. With a little bread I 
should have had a feast for an epicure, for heath- 
cocks and the cubs of bears are high dainties : but 
all Pembenar was unable to furnish me with a 
grain of wheat or an ounce of flour meal. 

The white bear is the only wild beast of these 



T in 
s of 
em ; 
f dc- 
' own 
I asked 
.t they 
ms are 
u Oki- 

lie dam 
for we 
)read 1 
les: but 
with a 

lof these 

regions that is dangerous. lie almost always 
attacks the traveller, and when hungry never 
fails to do so. One of these animals, last year, 
rushed into the canoe of two Bok-brulh while 
they were resting near the bank, and seizing 
one of them, dragged him into the forest, 
while the other, whose musket had become wet, 
was totally disabled from assisting him. For- 
tunately, however, a party of Indians were 
hunting near the spot, who ran to his assistance 
and killed the bear while still grasping his prey. 
The unfortunate man was merely wounded, and 
gave me the recital of the circumstance himself, 
and likewise sold me the animal's skin. The 
black bear, on the contrary, is extremely timid, 
and always on the approach of man betakes 
itself to flight. Next to the buftalo it is the most 
valuable of all animals to the Indians. Its skin, 
its flesh, its fat, its tendons, even its nails and 
teeth, are all convertible to purposes of utility. 

Nature has distinguished this animal by pe- 
culiar characters. He feeds entirely on fruits 
during summer and autumn, and it is at those 
seasons that the Indians go in search of him in 
places where fruits are abundant, and destroy 
him. When the cold weather commences he 
proceeds to hide himself in the hollow of some 
tree, or in a hole which he digs for himself in the 
earth. Here he remains completely motionless, 




■ i f 

apparently under the influence of the soundest 
sleep, for tlie whole of the winter. He sustains 
himself by sucking his paws, from which the fat 
with which his body is covered seems to pass 
for his nourishment. The Indians discover his 
abode sometimes by means of dogs which scent 
him, sometimes by the place which his breathing 
marks in the snow, and they destroy him with- 
out his making the least resistance or even mo- 
tion, so that a single pike or lance is sufficient 
for the purpose. In the spring, the season when 
he quits his den, he in the first place exerts 
himself to regain possession as it were of those 
natural powers which have remained suspended 
or paralysed during the whole winter. He 
cleanses himself by purgative and diuretic sim- 
ples, which nature points out to him with more 
clearness than they are indicated by our physi- 
cians and botanists. As, however, so long an 
abstinence, and this succeeding purgation, must 
necessarily have weakened his stomach, and it 
is consequently necessary for him to follow a 
light regimen, he commences with fish. 

The manner of his conducting his fishing is 
truly extraordinary. Sitting on his hind paws 
on the bank of a river or a lake, he t Dntinues so 
perfectly motionless that he might be mistaken 
for a burnt trunk of some tree, which frequently 
deceives even the keen and practised eye of an 

llOBBEll's mVEH. 


of an 

Indian himself. With his right paw he seizes 
with incredible celerity and skill the fish which 
unsuspectingly pass under his eyes, and throws 
them on the bank. When he has obtained a 
plentiful supply for his table, he regales himself 
on a portion of it, and conceals the rest, that he 
may have sure recourse to it, as appetite serves, 
during the day : he appears perfectly to know 
that morning and evening are the only times for 
fishing. He afterwards proceeds to a more 
substantial fare, to the flesh of beasts which he 
hunts, or finds dead, and at length he returns 
to his diet of fruits. Thus, at successive pe- 
riods of the year, he is a piscivorous, candvorous, 
^nd frugivorous animal. 

On the fifth day we arrived at Robber's river 
(called Wamans-Watpd by the Sioux and Po- 
wisci-sibi, by the Cypowais), so denominated 
because one of the Sioux, in his flight from the 
vengeance which had been denounced against 
him for murder, kept himself concealed, and 
robbed on this spot for many years, escaping 
the observation of his persecutors and enemies, 
by whom he was completely surrounded. We 
passed along its bank for two or three miles, 
to the place where it falls into the Red river,' 
and there my Indian attendants discovered 
their canoe, which was concealed among the 


' 1 






i ! 



I had been informed at Pembenar, that a 
number of Bois-bruilc's had proceeded to this 
confluence in order to erect huts for their winter- 
hunting establishment, and that some one of 
them would certainly be able to accompany me, 
and act as my interpreter, as far as Red lake, 
and, if I desired it, still farther; but we 
found none there. The Cypowais had driven 
them away, as we were informed by one of the 
latter, and they were gone to establish them- 
selves about a hundred miles lower down. On 
the other hand, my interpreter from Pembenar 
could not possibly continue with me : besides 
his having to conduct back the mule, other pow- 
erful reasons operated to prevent him. I was 
therefore compelled to decide ; and I delivered 
myself over to the care of my two Indians. 

We had not again proceeded up the river more 
than two miles before they stopped, and pre- 
sented an ofi^ering of dry provisions and tobacco 
to JMiciliki, the Manitou of Waters. This was a 
stake painted red, and iixed under a kind of 
sacdlum, like those of antiquity, and the cere- 
mony is by no means modern. They were, for 
this once, more generous towards their deities 
than Indians in such circumstances generally 
are : the reason is, that their offering was at 
my expense. 

The frequent rapids which we had met with 



ill the course of five or six miles, and which had 
compelled us to walk continually in the water, 
and over pointed and cutting rocks, in order to 
preserve our canoe from injury, had very much 
fatigued us, and our appetite also induced us to 
make a halt : we accordingly did so, and after 
eating my repast, I went to sleep beneath a tree, 
recommending myself to the care of providence. 
I was awakened by discharges of fire-ari.:s, 
and on starting up perceived five or six Indians 
on the opposite bank of the river, apparently 
desirous to cross it. On seeing me they seemed 
struck with astonishment and terror, and fled 
with precipitation : one of our Indians was 
wounded. Those who had fired at them were 
Sioux. I was already known among the In- 
dians of that nation, as the Tonka- Wasci-cio- 
konsca, or the Great Chief from afar country; and 
my tall stature and noble horse had rendered 
me the more remarked by them, as these are 
two things of which they are extreme admirers. 
When they again saw me on this spot, they 
concluded that the whole expedition was there, 
and fled with all haste for fear of being recog- 
nized. This was the idea that first presented 
itself to my mind, and I instantly acted upon it. 
We jumped immediately into our canoe ; I per- 
formed to the best of my power the labours of 
the wounded Indian, who had his left arm shot 





I i 

^4 I' 



completely thror^gh, and his right shoulder 
grazed. The ball, however, had not touched 
the bone of the arm, and the wound in the 
shoulder had injured only the integuments. The 
juice of some boiled roots was applied as the 
healing balsam ; the down of a swan-skin, which 
I had purchased at Pembenar, was substituted 
for lint, my handkerchief served for a bandage, 
and the bark of a tree called owigobinigy, or 
white wood, answered the purpose of securing 
the arm in a sling. We kept on our course till 
evening, and saw nothing more of them. 

My intrepid champions saw nothing but Sioux. 
The slightest sound from wind or water, the 
shadow of a tree or of a rock, everything was 
the Sioux. I discovered that they were plotting 
against me, for they carefully avoided my looks. 
I had not the slightest doubt that they meant to 
leave me on the spot, and determined therefore 
to make them re-embark, it being more easy to 
guard them in the canoe. About midnight we 
stopped. I had but little to fear, being left with- 
out my canoe, for I was already well aware that 
their intention must be to continue their course 
by land, by a route which would conduct them 
in two or three days to Red lake; whereas, 
were they to proceed by the river they would 
require more than six. However, I considered 
that no precaution ought to be neglected by me; 



I therefore drew the canoe to land, and fast- 
ened it to a tree by a cord, one end of which I 
tied to my leg, and then laid myself down by 
the side of them in such a manner that they 
could not rise, even if I should be able to sleep, 
without waking me. These precautions, and 
my musket and my sword between my legs, 
ready for immediate use, kept them quiet the 
whole night. 

On the following morning they embarked 
without difficulty. But. this was only with a 
view of reaching a certain point, whence the 
route by land was shorte.-. I might have used 
violence against them if I had chosen, for cer- 
tainly I had no fear of them ; I had even taken 
the precaution of putting water into their musket 
barrels : but I should only have exasperated their 
nation, in a territory where it was now absolute 
anr^. despotic, and where I could expect no as- 
sistance but from my own energies and the care 
of providence ; I therefore suffered them quietly 
to go off. They intimated to me, what I was 
before well aware of, that they were going to 
leave me. They invited me to follow them, and 
to leave the canoe, provisions, and baggage, con- 
cealed in the brushwood. I deliberated with 
myself on the subject for a moment: I consi- 
dered that the river was my best and surest 

I ; 
' 1 








way, that I was in possession of a canoe, pio- 
visions, a musket, a sword, and ammunition; 
whereas, by accepting their invitation, I should 
be following barbarians who had the cowardice 
to abandon a stranger confided to their guar- 
dianship at Pembenar by their most iittimate 
friends, one who had treated them as brothers, 
saved them from the hands of the enemy, healed 
their wounds and assisted them kindly with all 
his means. I should, with wretches of this 
description, be exposing myself in inextricable 
forests, in the midst of swamps and lakes, and 
abandoning tc the mercy of a thousand acci- 
dents, my baggage, my provisions, and mate- 
rials for the presents, which are indispensable 
passports through a savage country. My deter- 
mination, therefore, was soon fixed : after having 
vainly endeavoured to make them comprehend 
that both jManitous and men would punish such 
atrocity, I commanded them by words and signs 
peremptorily to be gone. 

I imagine, my dear Countess, that you will 
feel the frightfulness of my situation at this cri- 
tical moment more strongly than I can express 
it. I really can scarcely help shuddering, as 
well as yourself, whenever 1 think of it. For- 
tunately, I was not at the time overpowered 
and confounded. Woe be to us, if in exigen- 




cies like this, despair takes possession of our 
minds. In that case all is completely over 
with us ! 

To the indignation which I could not help 
feeling at the conduct of these wretches, the 
most perfect calm succeeded ; and I soon even 
changed tragedy for comedy. I began by smil- 
ing at my singular adventure*: ; and was soon 
inclined to think that I had been wrong in 
refusing credit to those of Robinson Crusoe. A 
good breakfast, which strengthened both my 
stomach and my mind, was the first step in my 
new career as a hero of romance. I then care- 
fully put my gun in order, to be able to defend 
myself against the attack of white bears, which 
abound near the Red river. With respect to 
the Indians, I was already so accustomed to see 
them, and often even to despise them, that they 
gave me not the slightest apprehension of danger ; 
and this circumstance did away with one impor- 
tant obstacle (as I should formerly have felt it) 
to the resolute continuance of the course I had 

The solitude I now experienced, which ro- 
mance-writers would not have found so pleasant 
and delightful as that which they have been 
pleased to exhibit in their fictions, impressed 
me at first with ideas the most dreadful. But 




-. I: 

this, perhaps, was merely designed to try the 
strengtli of my mind, and elevate it above the 
standard of the vulgar. 

Never was I offered by providence a more 
favourable opportunity for entertaining self- 
esteem without vanity ; and my modesty was 
indulgent enough to permit me freely to enjoy 
it, with a view to my rendering myself still more 
worthy of it. But your mind is too much agi- 
tated about my fate to enter into these reflec- 
tions — you are too eager to know what befell 
me — I proceed therefore to lift the curtain. 

I must, said I to myself, leave this place some 
way or other ; and I jumped into my canoe and 
began rowing. But I was totally unacquainted 
with the almost magical art by which a single 
person guides a cnnoe, and particularly a ca- 
noe formed of Ivark, the lightness of which is 
oveipowereu by the current, and the conduct 
of which requires extreme dexterity. Fre- 
quently, instead of proceeding up the river, I 
descended ; a circumstance which by no means 
shortened my voyage. Renewed efforts made 
me lose my equilibrium, the canoe upset, and 
admitted a considerable quantity of water. My 
whole cargo was wetted. I leaped into the 
water, drew the canoe on land, and laid it to 
drain with the keel upwards. I then loaded it 



again, taking care to place the wetted part of 
my effects uppermost, to be dried by the sun. 
I then resumed my route. 

You sympathize with the embarrassment in 
which you conceive I must have been involved, 
with all my difficulties and want of means for 
continuing my course. I bore all however with 
great philo->phy, and with a resignation which 
I believe you will readily admit ^s not very na- 
tural to me. I could scarcely help incessantly 
sm;hng. I threw myself into the water up to 
my waist, and commenced a promenade of a 
rather unusual kind, drawing the canoe after 
me with a thong from a buffalo's hide, which I 
had fastened to the prow. 

The first day of my expedition, the 15th 
of the month, was employed in this manner, and 
I did not stop till the evening. It was natural 
to expect that I should be fatigued ; but I was 
not in the least so. While thus dragging after 
me my canoe, with a cord over my shoulder 
an oar in my hand for my support, my back 
stoopmg, my head looking down, holding con- 
versation with the fishes beneath, and making 
mcessant windings in the river, in order to 
sound its depths, that I might most safely pass ; 
I must leave it to your imagination to conceive 
the variety and interest of the ideas which ra- 
pidly passed in review before my mind ! 



Vi u 




I quitted my cenoa and hid it. I was com- 
pletely wet, as was inevitable. I would have 
kindled a fire, but the Indians had carried off 
my steel ; and I could not succeed in doiui^ 
it with my gun. I was unable therefore to 
dry myself for the whole night; and when, 
on the morrow, I resumed my progress, my 
clothes, as you may suppose, seemed to have 
no dread of getting into contact with the 
water, for they were as completely soaked as 
they had been when taken out of it the evening 

The weather on the second day of my pro- 
gress was very disagreeable. A storm which 
commenced before mid -day continued till night. 
Notwithstanding this, hovover, I did not relax 
an instant but to take my food. I saw the hand 
of providence in the physical and moral vigour 
which supported me during this dreadful con- 
flict. In the evening I had no access to a more 
comfortable hearth than on the preceding one. 
My bear skin and my coveiMd, which consti- 
tuted the whole of my bed, were completely 
soaked ; and, what was worse, the mould be- 
gan to affect my prov.>ions. I was almost 
tempted to think that it was all over with my 
•promenades, and that I began to travel, and that 
not very comfortablij . 

On the morning of the 17th, the sun's beams 


gil<led .he awful solitude by which I ^ 
rounded, and I enn^ori,, ■, . ' "'**' «"i- 

fl"ence. I laid ouf mv n" '' "'''"'''" '"^'^ '"- 

was the only tliino- ,h J . "" '^'""•'tcrs, 

great indeed as „.l,. '""'""'•' "" ^""^ 

"le to continue r;;""^"^' " ""'^ '■"P^'^'^'We for 

--wer „rd:'rxT ,H''"r''^^'- '-»- 

»« is the case With n. "■ ' "'^<="''«' ''• 

'-„ how to g^i 'S*'"'^"^"-''''' <■-■ .no to 

-t n,y.elf, the te ' J:;!;'''' ""^ "'"■• ' 
•^an'est; and in the afte^ ^ ? ""'" ff""'' 
-y tent, I exerted n,;;r; T'"" ' ^'^"^"^ 
"-P gulfs, and aft rial : " '"" ■^^^"'-" 
-ages or distances of the r t ° b 27"^ '""' 
I endured was extreme • nnJ r . '^"'8^"« 

'■"? to my drag.:; :;hetlnf"' ""'™- 

™'tted my walking in t 1, "''' P*"" 
seemed to threaten rain I "PPe^rance.s 

-ith my umbrell " t ek iLoT".' ""' ''^'^'^ 
canoe. It w». ' ? """^ '"''"'"» of my 

eonveyedLs'Vthf"'r.r°"^'' '" ^^ "'em 
of C'hLa, while "t; ''^?^'^ =""* --er 
travel i„ thi If n ""^'''^ ^°"^^""ed to 

vo,,. „""' °^ " »a"ey slave ; nor could I 

( c 

386 i>rcTUiiE OF a noctuhnal solitude. 

help reflecting on those unfortunate victims 
of despotism which the Hcatot'iitUm has con- 
demned to drai? the vessels on the Danube. As 
it was of consequence for me to avail myself 
of everything that could promote cheerful- 
ness and keep up my spirits, I could not help 
smiling, which I am sure, my dear Countess, 
you would yourself have done, at the sight of 
my grotesque convoy. This night was less 
painful ; my bed was dry ; and, but for the mil- 
lions of gnats, which incessantly attacked me, 
and almost flayed me alive, I am convinced that 
I should have enjoyed sound and uninterrupted 

Whenever I awoke, the view presented to my 
imagination by my actual circumstances was 
truly frightful ; but my mind, instead of yield- 
ing to despair, rose in firmness with the exigence 
of the occasion ; and the death-like silence, inter- 
rupted only by the depressing notes of night 
birds and the bowlings of bears and wolves ; the 
darkness, through which the moon pierced in 
these vast and gloomy forests, only to exhibit 
doubtful and startling images ; instead of appal- 
ling or alarming me, only inspired me with a 
pensive feeling equally new and pleasing : a 
state of mind strongly felt, but perhaps almost 
impossible to be communicated. 

The morning of the 18th awakened me to my 



id in 
nth a 




Ito my 

active duties, and I proceeded in my cduisc ; 
and before mid-day fell in with two canoes of 

Being alone in a canoe of their nation, with 
three muskets, (for those of my two Indians were 
in my possession,) I might naturally have been 
apprehensive of exciting their most dangerous 
suspicions. But, heaven be praised, I enter- 
tained no apprehension whatever. I called to 
them with confidence, while they, struck with 
wonder at so extraordinary an object, halted on 
the opposite bank of the river. What astonished 
them most was my superbly conveyed baggage. 
They could form no idea of what that great nil 
skin (my umbrella) could possibly be, nor of 
what was placed beneath it ; and, observing me 
walking in the water, they perhaps imagined 
me to be their MicUiki. Some Catholics, from 
the tallness of my stature, would have thought 
they saw our Saint Christopher : if the latter 
carried the infant Jesus, I might be well said to 
carry the cross. At length, however, they po- 
litely replied to my Aniscic'm nigy, (Good day, 
my friends) ; but they could not recover from 
their surprise, and approached me with great 

I made them comprehend what had occurred 
to me, and that I wanted one of them to accom- 
pany me as far as Red lake. At ^rst they 





started immense difficulties ; but a woman was 
captivated by the beauty of my handkerchief, 
which was hanging from my pocket; a lad was 
fascinated with the one I had about my neck, 
and an old man muffled up in a miserable ragged 
rug, which through its innumerable holes dis- 
played nearly one half of his person, had already 
cast his rapacious glance on mine ; pretending to 
search for something in my portmanteau, a bit 
of calico which casually came to hand excited 
the full gaze of one of the young girls ; and my 
provisions, which they had already tasted, 
strongly stimulated their gormandizing appetite : 
I satisfied the whole of them, and the old man 
decided to accept my proposal. He took the 
helm of my vessel, and we set off. 

This assistance extricated me from a situa- 
tion which certainly was by no means pleasant, 
and it was so much the more valuable as it 
would have been impossible for me to proceed 
alone, because the river was constantly en- 
creasing in depth. Notwithstanding this, how- 
ever, my mind was in a state of incessant 
agitation as I proceeded, and I perceived its 
attention completely occupied about some- 
thing which it left behind it with regret. It 
was no difficult matter for me to detect this 
secret. My mind was, in fact, adverting to the 
four days of its solitude and independance, and 



had addressed to itself some such language as 
he fo owing .. Vou have experienced Lplet 
solitude you have tasted genuine independance 
you win from this time never enjoy them mo"' 
The independance and solitude represented in 
books, or to be found among civilized nations 

fully comprehended why the Indians consider 
«.cmselves happier than cultivated nations, and 
tar superior to them. 

It is difficult to ..leet with a rower as strong 
^s my patriarchal companion, and we advanced 
at a rapKl rate, without stopping, till the evening 

had fire to make a roast, and I shot them 
accordingly. Though my bed was without ^ 
coverlid, (the cunning old fellow having left i„ 
h.s own canoe the one which I had given him^ 
y^ wrapping myself; like the Indians, in the 
skin I wore about me, I lay down to rest very 
comfortably. I„ the course of the night I Z 
waked by my cautionary cord; and, at first 

me, but t turned out to be occasioned by some 
large animal who had taken a fancy to my Z. 
visions. I gently seized my gun which I alays 
my side, and in an instant brought him 





My Indian, confounded by the report of fire- 
arms, thought he had been attacked by the 
Sioux, about whom, not improbably, he had been 
dreaming, and immediately betook himself to 
flight. I called out to him, I ran towards him 
to convince him of his error and restoie his con- 
fidence, but the forest and darkness concealed 
him from my view, and thus in a moment my 
solitude and independance were renewed. How- 
ever, I could still have smiled at the adventure, 
if such an expression of feeling had been at all 

I waited for him in vain for the remainder of 
the night. Two discharges of the gun however, 
which I fired oft' immediately one after the other, 
(considered by them as a signal of friendship,) 
brought him back to his quarters with the dawn 
of day. 

We searched for the animal I had fired at, 
which it seems retained strength sufficient to 
drag itself to a few paces distance among the 
brushwood, to which traces of blood guided us; 
it proved to be a wolf. My companion refused 
to strip the animal of its skin, a superb one, 
viewing it at the same time with an air of 
respect, and murmuring within himself some 
words, the meaning of which will probably sur- 
prise you. In fact, the wolf was his Manitou. 

k\ !• 



He expressed to it the sincerity of his regret for 
what had happened, and informed it that he was 
not the person who had destroyed it. 

On the 1 9th, my Mentor wanted to play me 
the trick of handing me over to the charge of 
another Indian whom we fell in with ; but T gave 
him a frown, and he went on with me. We 
again made a good day's progress, to which I 
contributed by rowing to the best of my ability. 
Night arrived without his pausing in his ex- 
ertions. He gave me to understand that it was 
indispensable for him to reach the destined 
place without delay, and appeared excessively 
eager to rejoin his canoes. 

Much fatigued, and shivering under a cold 
moist air, with which the night-dews in this 
country pierce to the very bones, I lay down 
nnder my bear-skin to sleep. A distant sound 
awoke me, and I found myself alone in my 
canoe, in the midst of rushes. On turning my 
head I observed three or four torches approaching 
me. My imagination had at first transported 
me to tiie enchanted land of fairies, and I was 
m motionless expectation of receiving a visit 
from their ladyships, or of being addressed like 
Telemachus, by the nymphs. They proved 
however to be female Indians, who came to 
convey my effects, and to guide me to their hut. 
My Charon, who from purgatory had conducted 


. I 





me to Hell, had applied to them for this pur- 
pose, and then hastened his return to his family 
who were waiting for him where he first met 
with me. I was now at Red lake, at the marshy 
spot whence the river springs, and about a mile 
from an Indian encampment. 

I was conducted to a hut covered with the 
bark of trees, like those which I have already 
described to you as belongmg to the Cypowais, 
but on a larger scale. I there found fourteen 
Indians, male and female, nineteen dogs, and a 
wolf. The latter was the first to do the honours 
of the house ; however, as he was fastened, he 
could not attack me s o effectively as he was evi- 
dently desirous of doing, and merely tore my 
pantaloons, which were, indeed, the only pair I 
had still serviceable. This wolf was one of 
their household gods. 

The first two of the Indians that my eyes 
glanced on were my former treacherous com- 
panions : I appeared not to observe them. I 
desired the women to hang up my provisions 
to the posts which supported the roof, to pre- 
serve them from the voracity of the dogs ; and, 
not having any power to help myself, I lay 
down in the corner assigned to me in this into- 
lerably filthy stable. When I got up again, 
you will easily believe that I did not rise 
alone : thus I incurred an addition of wounds 



and inflictions on a body which the pointed flints 
and cutting shells of the river, and the boughs 
of trees, thorns, brambles and musquiu ^, had 
previously converted into a Job. 

On the morning of the 20th, I desired to 
be conducted to a Bois-hruU for whom I had 
brought a letter from Pembenar. I was told 
that he resided at a distance, and that the waters 
of the lake were in a state of great agitation. I 
could not even obtain the favour of having him 
sent for, for this happened to be the day when 
it was the hounden duty of all the members of 
the hut to devote themselves to yelling, eating, 
drinking, and dancing, in commemoration of the 
Indian killed at the river Cayenne. I quitted the 
place, and offered the only handkerchief that I 
had remaining to the first Indian whom I met, 
and he immediately went off" with my letter. 

The funeral ceremony presented nothing more 
extraordinary than what we have already seen, 
excepting the pillaging of my provisions in ho- 
nour of the hero of the fete ; and the convulsions 
of the father and mother composed to quietude 
by the blowings and exorcisms of the priests, 
and the wounds inflicted on the arms and les-s. 
the contortions, yellings, and bowlings of his 

The Indians of this tribe, amounting in num- 
ber to about five hundred, and presided over by 
a chief denominated the Great Hare (Kitci- 





Wabouse,) do not inter their dead ; they burn 
them, and scatter their ashes to the winds, in 
order to enable them to reach heaven with 
greater facility ; and even though only a thigh, a 
leg, or a fo<»t, should be burnt, they believe the 
whole body goes with just the same certainty 
to paradise : they conceive that this single 
member cannot continue separated from the 
rest of the body, and that by means of its celes- 
tial power it attracts to itself all the others 
which are possessed of a merely human nature 
as long as they remain on earth. This explains 
why the ceremony in question was so noisy and 
violent : they manifested by the vehemence of 
their yells the grief they felt from having in 
their possession no member of the deceased to 

A party of the relatives and friends was gone 
on an expedition for discovering whether the 
Sioux had left no remains whatever on the spot 
where the tragedy had been acted, while my 
old friend the pilot, as herald-at-arms, had pro- 
ceeded to rouse the vengeance and implore the 
succour of some Cypowais Jumpers, who were 
scattered in various spots about the forests. The 
doctrine of these Indians is strikingly singular, 
it is perhaps held by them only, of all mankind. 
For they seem to recognize rather the immorta- 
lity of the body than that of the soul. 

My Bois-brule had now arrived. He was one 



of the numerous progeny scattered over the 
country by the vice and immorality of the fur 
traders. He is the son of a Canadian, and a 
female Indian of the tribe of the Cypowais. 

The chief then ad ressed himself to me 
through this interpreter : — ''Great Warrior, my 
people have deserted thee, and thereby excited 
thine anger. But they entertained no evil de- 
sign ; they consider th^ to be brave, and cannot 
possibly intend thee ill. Thou hast thyself been 
witness of the infraction of treaties committed by 
that nation of assassins, (the Sioux) ; my people 
therefore had a double motive for quitting thee; 
it was incumbent upon them to come as soon 
as possible, and rouse our vengeance, and he 
who was wounded suffered very great pain. 
They took the shortest way in their power. We 
have offered nothing to thee because thou hadst 
more provisions than we had, and better than 
ours ; and then thou wast angry. We have this 
day eaten a little of them because we were in 
want, and thou art generous. If thou hast need 
of us, tell me so. Smoke with us the calumet of 
peace, and grant me a small portion of tobacco." 
I accordingly gave him a little, smoked, and 
then left him without making any answer. Had 
I prolonged my stay, for ever so little time, In- 
dian hospitality would have ended in consuming 
the whole of my provisions. 


i I 

'1 :.| 

:■ n 




My Bois-brulc resides about twelve miles dis- 
tant from this encampment to the south of the 
lake. The wind was too high for a canoe made 
of bark, and the lake too violently agitated; we 
were compelled, therefore, to disembark, and 
passed the night under an immense plane tree. 
This plane is, perhaps, the Colossus of the 
♦vhole vegetable kingdom. The Indians adore 
it as a Manitou ; the ancients would have done 
the same, and though I am myself a modern, I 
admire it as one of the most prodigious and 
most beautiful productio?is of nature. 

We arrived at his hut on the morning of 
the 21st. Misery might be said to be personi- 
fied in his family, and in all by which he was 
surrounded; a wife (the daughter of a father 
whom she has never seen,) nourishing an infant 
at her breast, but nearly destitute of nourish- 
ment herself, and five naked and famine-struck 
children, constituted the whole of his property. 
The uncertain fishery of the lake, and a smi ;* 
quantity of maize, in its green and immature 
state, furnish the whole means of their subsis- 
tence. They are neither civilized nor savage, 
possessing the resources of neither state, but 
every inconvenience and defect of both. The 
worst part of the case is, that this Bois-hrult has 
a great deal of natural talent, which serves only 
to render him more dangerous. He has been 



taught both to read and write, and has obtained 
that species of education which just serves to 
strengthen the innate evil propensities of the 
man, when unaccompanied by that moral training 
which is their proper curb and correction : in 
fact, the obliquity of his character has quite 
ruined him in the opinion of the traders who have 
successively employed him; and his crimes 
obliged him to abscond from Pembenar, where 
I was informed that I ought to be more on my 
guard against him than against tlie Indians them- 
selves. I mention all these circumstances to 
you, my dear Countess, because, with the truest 
and noblest friendship, you are desirous of par- 
ticipating, as it were, in every description of 
danger incurred by me, and in order that those 
of our mutual friends who may be inclined to 
engage in the field of adventure like myself, may 
learn how to meet and overcome the various 
enemies they may have to encounter. 

I immediately saw that from Scylla J had 
fallen into Charybdis. I had recourse therefore 
to two expedients, which I conceived to be best 
adapted in similar circumstances to baffle the 
mischievous machinations of grasping and greedy 
minds, — I mean generosity and menace. I began 
by sharing with him the small stock of provi- 
sions and linen that I had remaining, to assuage 
his indigence, the wants of himself and his 



" '\ r\ ^ 

J -'i 

family; and then told him, in a firm and elevated 
tone, that, when occasion required, 1 should not 
hesitate to shew my teeth and exert my power ; 
that moreover every person at Pembenar well 
knew that I had confided myself to his guidance, 
and that the commandant of Fort St Peter, and 
the government of the iJnited States, would con- 
sider him responsible for whatever might befall 
me in passing through the Indian territories. 
He then changed the manner and character of 
his discourse. All the immense difficulties and 
invincible objections which he had at first men- 
tioned, and which I had pretended to hear with 
the greatest indifference, almost immediately 
vanished. He offered his services with alacrity 
to assist me in surmounting the obstacles which 
really existed, and sealed his promises by doing 
me the honour to say, " You are a man of ten 
thousand." But we will now return to the Red 
river, from which we have somewhat, though 
not unnaturally, digressed, and which we have 
surveyed hitherto rather through the imagination 
than the senses. 

It presents no other extraordinary feature 
than the very frequent winding of its course, in 
Wiiich perhaps it is scarcely exceeded by the 
Meander itself. It waters a country uniformly 
level, and the rapids which we have seen do not 
lower its level but by the height of its banks. 




After Robber's river, as you ascend, no other 
river flows into it. This is more particularly 
to be noticed, because the English Hudson's 
Bay Company, according to their theories, 
have created on their map other Red rivers, with 
many more tributary streams flowing into it 
than this has. 

At the distance of about forty miles from the 
lake, its banks are lined with impenetrable forests; 
above, the view is agreeably varied by smiling 
meadows and handsome shrubbery. On flowing 
from the lake it passes among rushes and wild 
rice. It is an error of geographers, founded on 
the vague information of Indians, that it derives 
its source from this lake; indeed, a lake which 
is formed by five or six rivers which flow into it 
can never be considered as itself the source of 
any single river. We shall soon have occasion 
to look farther for this source. 

The lake, by means of a streight, is divided into 
two ports, one to the north-east and the other to 
the south-west. Let us proceed to make the 
circuit of the last, which is certainly the most 

It receives on the western side the river 
Broachers, (Kinougeo-sibi,) and that of the Great 
Rock, (Kisciacinabed'sibi;) to the south, the river 
Kahasimlague-sibi, or Gravel river, near which the 
hut of my Bois-bruU guide is situated ; that of 



Kwi^nJcaouc-sihi, or Gold-fisli river ; and tfiat of 
Madaoanaliun-.sihi, or Great Portaj^e river; on the 
south-east, Cormorant river, (Cacalcisciou-sihi.) 
A lar^e tongue of land on the E.N.E. forms a 
peninsuhi about four miles in length, and of 
varying breadth, ending in a point towards the 
west. At a little distance, towards the north, 
there is another encampment of Indians, con- 
sisting of about three hundred persons, the chief 
of whoii is the Grand Carabou, (Kisci-Adihc). 
The streight is situated to the N. N. E., and there 
is a small island in the midst of its waters divi- 
ding them into two. To the north we find ano- 
ther tongue of land, which serves also to separate 
the two lakes, and reaches as far as the streight, 
commencing at the spot whence, as we have 
seen. Red river, or (more properly speaking,) 
Bloody river, proceeds. The other lake receives, 
on the east. Sturgeon river, (Amcuikamns-sibi). 
By the channel of this river, and by means of two 
portages there is a communication with Rain 
river, from whence one can easily communicate 
with lake Superior, to the south ; and with the 
waters of Hudson's Bay, by the lake of Woods, 
to the north. The waters which flow into lake 
Superior on this side, may be considered as the 
sources of the river St Lawrence. 

These two lakes are about one hundred and 
thirty miles in circumference ; and Red river 

.; t 




traverses about three hundred from the lake to 
Pembenar; but in a straight line the whole dis- 
trncc scarcely amounts to one hundred and sixty. 
How much has it cost me, my dear Countess, 
to write you these details ! Perhaps as much as' 
It will you to peruse them ; for, like all women 
of spirit, you are fond of the brilliant and u 
mantic. But our geographical friends would 
accuse me of negligence if I forgot them in a 
country completely unknown to them, and where 
no white man had previously travelled. Our 
political friends also would equally complain, 
particularly our two F . . . , our B . . . , and 
our S . . . ; for they also require similar details, 
m order to avoid error in their frequent divisions 
and distributions of the world. 

In the course of an excursion which I made 
to the south-west, I discovered eight small lakes, 
undistinguished by names, which all communi- 
cate with each other, and of which Gravel river 
is the outlet. These lakes seem to have been 
negligently scattered by nature through a terri- 
tory sometimes gloomy and sometimes gay 
varied with hills and dales, and presenting to 
the eye landscapes the most delightful and en- 
chanting. I resolved to pass a night amidst 
scenes so uncommonly charming, that I might 
enjoy as long as possible the exquisite impres- 


D I) 

I — vaU, 





I'- 1 lil 

sions they made upon my mind and senses. I 
dedicated these lakes to the family to which 
I am united by the most cordial friendship ; and 
accordingly gave them the names of Alexander, 
Lavinius, Everard, Frederica, Adela, Magdalena, 
Virginia, and Eleonora. The purity of the waters 
of these lakes I considered a correct image of that 
of their minds ; and their union reminded me of 
the affection by which the members of this 
happy family are so tenderly connected. 

The whole of this territory abounds with in- 
numerable maple, or sugar trees, which the 
Indians divide into various sugaries. The sap 
of the trees flows through incisions made in 
them by the Indians in spring at the foot of the 
trunk. It is received in buckets of birch bark, 
and conveyed to the laboratory of each respec- 
tive sugary, where it is boiled in large cauldrons 
tnl the watery parts are evaporated. The dregs 
descend, and the saccuarine matter remains ad- 
hering to the sides of the vessel. When this 
process is completed the sugar is made. 

This commodity is, to the Indians, a most 
valuable resource : they barter it for articles of 
indispensable necessity ; it supplies them with 
a salutary and excellent nourishment ; and when 
taken in ptisan, or pure water, proves an effica- 
cious remedy for complaints of tlie stomach and 





bowels. It is the favourite application of their 
quack doctors and clerical impostors, who 
attribute the virtue of this wholesome product 
and Its balsamic effect to their own miserable jug- 
glmgs. I find myself occasionally indisposed by 
eatmg too copiously of the wild fruits of the coun- 
try, forgetting under the sensation of hunger the 
wise precept of the Salernian school respectino- 
both - quantity and quality." In these cases I 
take a thin decoction of sugar, a few simples 
which have been recommended to me, and 
especially wild cherry wood, and my cure is 

I returned to the encampment of Great Hare, 
to engage an Indian to attend me, together with 
my Bois-brulS guide, during the continuance of 
my excursion, and to purchase the canoe which 
was the scene of my tragi-comedy on Red river ; 
for I was desirous of having it conveyed, if 
possible, to my rural cottage, and preserve it 
with my other Indian curiosities as a memorial 
and trophy of my labours in these my trans- 
atlantic promenades. 

All the principal men of the tribe were assem- 
bled, constituting the grand conclave or council 
oi Medicine. As I belonged to neither of the 
five distinct societies or worlds known by savao-es 
being neither French, English, Spaniard. Ame- 
rican, nor Indian, and consequently ought to be 






regarded as tlic member of an unknown world, 
and could not be considered as profane, I was 
permitted to enter. 

They were engaged in blessing their favourite 
and magic roots. T\\q Great J\Ian of Mcilk'tm', 
Pisc'u'iUha Or'rjj Asciatop/n/, gave out the tune of 
their psalms, and each individual among the 
initiated chanted his verse in turn. The roots 
passed through the hands of every person, being 
in the last instance returned to those of the 
(h'cdt J\/(U?, who completed their consecration. 
This was followed by eating ; for this process 
accompanies every form and ceremony ; and in 
this I also participated. I was still in the cam]) 
when one of these devotees, if I may call them 
so, died of poison. At the above repast each 
person had his separate allowance placed on a 
bark trencher ; the portion of the deceased had 
been seasoned with one of those medicines which 
he had himself joined with the rest in blessing. 
He was a person held in suspicion by the GraU 
Man of JMciUc'nie. 

In cases of this description vengeance is per- 
fectly silent and inactive. No one speaks of 
the matter ; not even relatives. The deceased 
victim is lamented only in secret. His heart is 
burnt privately, and the ashes are preserved by 
their medical or priestly juggler, and distributed 
to the true believers, as occasion requires, as 

(J 11 1. AT POIITAOE. 



amulets of sovereign virtue. [ saw tlie unfortu- 
nate victim myself; he died calmly ; and the 
other inhabitants of the hut, men, women, and 
children, were at the time proceedini^ on their 
own respective occupations 'vith a coldness and 
indifference absolutely appallinj^, not even turn- 
ing on the dying man a single look. This event, 
my dear Countess, recalled to my recollection a 
number of others which made me sigh and 
shudder at the baleful effects of imposture and 
superstition. I then quitted the scene in a 
state of great dejection and humiliation, with 
a thousand painful reflections rushing on my 

The river of Great Portage is so called by the 
Indians because a dreadful storm that occurred 
on it blew down a vast number of forest trees 
on its banks, which encumber its channel, and 
so impede its navigation as to make an extensive 
or great portage in order to reach it. The river 
thus denominated, however, is the true Red, 
or rather Bloody river. It enters the lake on 
the south, and goes out, as we have seen, on 
the north-west. This is the opinion of the In- 
dians themselves, and it is not difficult to find 
arguments in support of it. 

According to the theory of ancient geogra- 
phers, the sources of a river which are most in 
a right line with its mouth should be considered 


^■ ^.. ^ 


I 1 



as its principal sources, and particularly when 
they issue from a cardinal point and flow to the one 
directly opposite. This theory appears conform- 
able to nature and reason ; and upon this prin- 
ciple we should proceed in forming the sources 
of the river of Great Portage. By the name 
Portage, is meant a passage which the Indians 
make over a tongue of land, from one river or 
lake to another, carrying with them on their 
backs their light canoes, their baggage, and 

I left Red lake on the morning of the 26th. 
The commencement of Portage is between the 
river so called and Gold-fish river. It is about 
twelve rr»!les long ; and I therefore engaged ano- 
ther Indian, with his horse, to effect it more 
conveniently. The country is delightful, but at 
times almost impenetrable. 

Half-way in my course I was stopped by a 
fine little lake, surrounded with cypress- trees. 
It has neither entrance nor exit. Its waters are 
gloomy, like the objects reflected by them ; and 
a cavern, where the water is motionless, as it is 
indeed in every other part, recalled to my mind 
the Sybil's Grotto at Cumae : as, however, I am 
no Eneas, I did not consider it prudent to enter. 
This lake had no name, and I gave it the 
appellation of the Lake Avernus of the new 




In the evening, after extreme fatigue and ex- 
periencing a dreadful storm, we arrived at the 
end of the portage, near a small lake, to vi^hich 
we gave the name of the Lake of Pines, from the 
immense number of those trees by which it is 
surrounded. Its waters, which by their con- 
tinual foam and bubbling, appear to gush up- 
wards out of the earth, after a course of four or 
five miles, go to form the eight lakes which, as 
has been observed, discharge themselves into 
Bloody lake by Gravel river. 

On the ensuing day, the "27th, I discharged 
the supernumerary Indian, with his horse ; for, 
having no provisions but what we could j^ro- 
cure by means of our guns, we were already 
three too many. We crossed the small lake 
strictly in the direction from north to south ; 
and here we commenced another portage of four 

The Indian carried the canoe, the Bois-brule, 
as much of the eifects as he was able, and the 
rest I undertook myself. You smile, my dear 
Countess, at our laborious and humble proces- 
sion, and indeed I cannot help joining you. 
As, however, I have condescended to be consi- 
dered an animal of burden, I shall not expect to 
be ever again accused of impatience. We pro- 
ceeded at a brisk pace, and my air and carriage 
were not contemptible for a man who was 


II ' 

^, „ 

X i 

S i 



hitched and hooked on every side in thorns and 
briars. Even Delille, who converts everything 
into rose and jessamine, v^^ould have changed 
his tone in my situation. Not a word of com- 
plaint, however, did I utter! 

At the end of this corvine we found the 
Great Portage river. We embarked and pro- 
ceeded up its current, crossing two lakes which 
it forms in its course, each about live or six 
miles in circumference, and containing patches 
of wild rice — unfortunately for us not yet ripe. 
A family of Indians, whom we found there, 
collected from several spots a few ears for 
us, but these only served to make us still more 
acutely feel the sense of privation, and stimulate 
our appetite more strongly. We gave these 
lakes the name of Manoineny-Kany-aguoiy or the 
lakes of Wild Rice. 

After proceeding upwards of five or six miles, 
always in a southerly direction, we entered a 
noble lake, formed like the others by the waters 
of the river, and which has no other issue than 
the river's entrance and discharge. 

Its form is that of a half-moon, and it has a 
beautiful island in the centre of it. Its circum- 
ference is about twenty miles. The Indians call 
it Ptiposky- Wiza-Kany-agueUy or the End of the 
shaking Lands ; an etymology very correct, as 
nearly all the region we have traversed from the 




lake of Pines may be almost considered to float 
upon the waters. The foot sinks in with the 
turf it treads on, and the latter resumes its level 
when the foot, removes. This lake is situated 
at a very small distance from high lands, which 
divide the waters flowing northward from those 
which take a southerly direction. 

I passed on this spot a part of the day of my 
arrival and the whole of the succeeding night. 
We had excellent sport among the wild ducks, 
which abound and build their nests there. We 
also dried and smoked some of them, in order to 
preserve some stock of provisions, of which we 
were frequently in want. On the morning of 
the 28th we resumed our navigation of the river, 
which enters on the south side of the lake. 

About six miles higher up we discovered its 
sources, which spring out of the ground in the 
middle of a small prairie, and the little basin 
into which they bubble up is surrounded by 
rushes. We approached the spot within fifty 
paces in our canoe. 

But now, my dear Countess, let me request 
you to step on quickly for a moment, pass the 
short portage which conducts to the top of the 
small hill, which overhangs these sources on 
the south, (the only hill I have met with since 
those I pointed out to your notice on the 
river St Peter,) and transport yourself to the 

( 1 



place where I am now writing. Here, reposing 
under the tree, beneath whose shade I am rest- 
ing at the present moment, you will survey with 
an eager eye, and with feelings of intense and 
new delight, the sublime traits of nature ; phe- 
nomena which fill the soul with astonishment, 
and inspire it at the same time with almost hea- 
venly ecstasy ! This is a work which belongs 
to the Creator of it alone to explain. We can 
only adore in silence his omnipotent hand. 

In this situation the mind of man rises in rap- 
ture towards the Author of all the wonders which 
surround him. Here the most determined in- 
fidel would be compelled to admit the existence 
of a Supreme Being. That sublime temple, be- 
fore which all the monuments of antiquity sink 
into insignificance, and which ages to come will 
never be able to equal, the august temple of the 
Vatican, where the deity and religion display 
themselves in all their majesty, would not ex- 
cite in your mind sentiments of faith and piety 
so perfect and profound as those inspired by the 
present enchanting, transcendant, and prodigi- 
ous creations of divine omnipotence ! 

We are now on the highest land of North 
America, if we except the icy and unknown 
mountains which are lost in the problematical 
regions of the Pole of that part of the world, and 
in the vague conjectures of visionary map- 




makers. Yet all is here plain and level, and 
the hill is merely an eminence formed, as it 
were, for an observatory. 

Casting our eye around us, we perceive the 
flow of waters— to the south towards the gulf of 
Mexico, to the north towards the Frozen Sea, on 
the east to the Atlantic, and on the west towards 
the Pacific Ocean. 

A vast platform crowns this distinguished su- 
preme elevation, and, what is still more asto- 
nishing, in the midst of it rises a lake. 

How is this lake formed! Whence do its 
waters proceed ? These questions can be solved 
by the grand Architect alone ; man can merely 
suggest conjectures ; and those of the savans 
are sometimes the weakest and most errone- 
ous, because the most presumptuous, and, from 
their extreme subtlety, unsubstantial; and 
even when they understand nothing of the dif- 
ferent phenomena before them, they always 
consider themselves obliged to talk and theorize 
as if they had comprehended all. I will, myself, 
inform you in ^he first place of what I have ma- 
terially and actually seen on the subject, and 
then offer the inferences naturally flowing from 
the facts. 

This lake has no issue : and my eyes, which 
are not deficient in sharpness, cannot discover 
in the whole extent of the clearest and widest 


II: ) 

I I 

^ » 

' I 





horizon, any land which rises above the level of 
it. All places around it are, on the contrary, 
considerably lower. I have made long excur- 
sions in all its environs, and have been unable to 
perceive any volcanic traces, of which its banks 
are equally destitute. Yet its waters boil up in 
the middle ; and all my sounding lines have 
been insufficient to ascertain their depth ; which 
may be considered as indicating that they spring 
from the bottom of some gulf, the cavities of 
which extend far into the bowels of the earth ; 
and their limpid character is almost a proof that 
they become purified by filtrating through long 
subterraneous sinuosities : so that time may per- 
haps have eff'aced the exterior and superficial 
traces of a volcano, and the basin of the lake 
have been nevertheless its effect and its crater. 
Whither do these waters go ? This, I conceive, 
may be more easily answered, although there is 
no apparent issue for them. 

You have seen the sources of the river which 
I have ascended to this spot. They are pre- 
cisely at the foot of the hill, and filtrate in a 
direct line from the north bank of the lake, on 
the right of the centre, in descending towards 
the north. They are the sources of Bloody 
river. On the other side, towards the south, 
and equally at the foot of the hill, other sources 
form a beautiful little basin of about eighty feet 



in circumference. These waters likewise filtrate 
from the lake, towards its south-western extre- 

fore, supplies the most southern sources of Red, 
or, as I shall in future call it (by its truer name) 
Bloody river; and the most northern sources of 
the Mississippi — sources till now unknown of 

This lake is about three miles round. It is 
formed in the shape of a heart ; and it may be 
truly said to speak to the very soul. Mine was 
not slightly moved by it. It was but justice to 
draw it from the silence in which geography, 
after so many expeditions, still suffered it to 
remain, and to point it out to the world in all its 
honourable distinction. I have given it the 
name of the respectable lady whose life (to use 
the language of her illustrious friend the Coun- 
tess of Albany) ivas one umkviating course of mo- 
ral ixctitiide, and whose death was a calamity to all 
who had the happiness of knmving her ; and the 
recollection of whom is incessantly connected 
with veneration and grief by all who can pro- 
perly appreciate beneficence and virtue. I have 
called the lake, accordingly, Lake Julia; and 
the sources of the two rivers, the Julian sources 
of Bloody river, and the Julian sources of the Mis- 
sissippi, which, in the Algonquin language, means 




; \ 

the Father of Rivers. Oh ! what were the thouj^^lits 
which passed through my mind at tiiis most 
happy and brilliant moment of my life ! The 
shades of Marco Polo, of Columbus, of Ameri- 
cus Vespncius, of the Cabots, of Verazani, of 
the Zenos, and various others, appeared present, 
and joyfully assisting at this high and solemn 
ceremony, and congratulating themselves on one 
of their countrymen having, by new and suc- 
cessful researches, brought back to the recollec- 
tion of the world the inestimable services which 
they had themselves conferred on it by their 
own peculiar discoveries, by their talents, 
achievements, and virtues. 

I cannot inform you of the precise latitude or 
longitude of this interesting spot ; for I have no 
instruments with me by which I could ascertain 
them ; and to speak candidly, even if I had, I 
could not perhaps satisfactorily avail myself of 
them. Astronomy was but slightly touched on 
in my education, which was merely general, but 
had not an appointed object. This is one of the 
faults of our country, for the education of every 
individual should have some principal and de- 
terminate object in view ; and, as you well 
know, my dear Countess, my occupation related 
rather to what men ought to do and to avoid on 
earth, than to what may be explored or guessed 
in the heavens. Moreover, perhaps the case 

\ I 




case is best as it is : for, since Mr Melish is far 
from agreeing with Mr Schoolcraft, and Major 
Lang with Mr Tardieu, even respecting the de- 
grees of countries well known, there is reason 
to believe that a correct sextant is not easily to 
be met with : 1 have at least, therefore, not led 
the world into error on the subject. However, 
as I calculate that from Pembenar, which is in 
tlie fiftieth degree, I have proceeded almost 
always longitudinally as far as Bloody lake, I 
presume these sources are not far distant from 
the forty-ninth. 

My Indian and Bois-bruU are now announcing 
to me, for the third time, that my table is ready"! 
Occupied by the most grand and interesting 
objects in nature, with a mind absorbed by the 
sentiments which these solitary and venerable 
regions inspire, and those also arising from my 
associations with the name by wliich I have 
just designated them, 1 had nearly forgotten the 
very means of my existence— -I now go to my 
Indian repast. 




i \ 


^ 'I 



At Sandy Lake, 

Sept. 20, 1823. 

In my last letter, my dear Countess, I left you 
at the Julian sources of Bloody river and the 
Mississippi. We have seen the greatest part of 
the first, let us now follow the second. I hope, 
if heaven prove propitious to my wishes, to con- 
duct you to the moutiis of it. We shall, in that 
case, be the only individuals who ever traversed 
the whole of its course, as we were the first to 
discover its sources. 

The Julian sources of the Mississippi run di- 
rectly to the south of the small basin which has 
been noticed, by a narrow strait of three miles 
length, into Turtle lake. If I had not been 
afraid of adventuring my canoe amidst the 
almost impassable brambles and brushwood 

I l l— I 




left you 
ind the 
■ part of 
I hope, 
to con- 
, in that 
! first to 

L run di- 
hich has 
ee miles 
lot been 
idst the 

which impede its portage, I should have com- 
menced the navigation from the very spot on 
which they spring. 

I find it impossible to become weary of ex- 
amining and admiring the least objects of atten- 
tion furnished by this scene. The majestic river, 
which embraces a world in its immense cour.,c, 
and speaks in thunder in its cataracts, is at 
these its sources nothing but a timid Naiad, 
stealing cautiously through the rushes and briars 
which obstruct its progress. The famous Mis- 
sissippi, whose course is said to be twelve hun- 
dred leagues, and which bears navies on its 
bosom, and steam-boats superior in size to fri- 
gates, is at its source merely a petty stream of 
crystalline water, concealing itself among reeds 
and wild rice, which seem to insult over its 
humble birth. I could not but be struck with 
the valuable lesson here furnished to haughty 
upstarts, or help recurring in imagination to the 
slave in antiquity, who, placed behind the car 
of triumph, repeated in the conqueror's ear, 
" Respice post te et hominem esse memento r In 
short, my imagination, which had figured to it- 
self precipitous mountains, down whicli the 
waters of this monarch of rivers rushed in 
mighty waves, was struck with astonishmeht at 
finding one eternal flat of swampy ground. 
The Tortoise lake, called by the Indians 


\0L. 11 

V. V. 

1 I 

ill '1 




. / ■' f 



Mikinahosa-guay-guen, took its name not, as 
geographers tell us, from its form, but from 
a tortoise of extraordinary size, which the In- 
dians found there about a century ago : they 
fed it with everything they could offer it most 
delicious, and long worshipped it as a great 

Neither traveller, nor missionary, nor geo- 
grapher, nor expedition-maker, ever visited this 
lake. A great many of the stories which find 
their way into books are invented by the Red 
men, either to deceive the whites, or to conceal 
their own belief or their own weaknesses, lou 
never hear an Indian talk about his gods, or 
about the worship he pays them. Theological 
disputations, claims to religious ascendancy, 
despotic intolerance, do not disturb their com- 
munities or their families, every man goes to the 
heaven of his own creation by the way his con- 
science or his instinct points out. The Indians 
themselves have confessed to me that, when they 
go down to the traders' settlements, they amuse 
themselves with gulling their credulity by a 
number of fables, which afterwards become the 
oracles of geographers and book-makers. 

This lake is like a labyrinth. The quantity 
of streights and little bays formed by the nu- 
merous islands and peninsulas, renders it almost 
inextricable. Setting out from the most northerly 

'^ 4 




[ot, as 
: from 
he In- 
: they 
t most 
I great 

)r geo- 
ed this 
ch find 
he Red 
;. You 
ods, or 
iir com- 
s to the 
tiis con- 
len they 
y amuse 
y by a 
ome the 


the nu- 

t almost 



point, where the Julian sources of the Mississippi 
enter the lake, you steer direct to the south for 
two miles, then turn to the east through a 
streight formed by an island and a tongue of 
land; then turn to the south again, then to the 
west, constantly doubling capes and promonto- 
ries, and at length you reach the point, towards 
the S. S. E. where the Mississippi resumes its 
course. The lake, including all its numerous 
bays, is perhaps more than a hundred miles in 
cn-cumference. It has no other outlets than the 
entrance and issue of the Mississippi. The vo- 
lume of water of the river is so considerable even 
at its first issuing from the lake, that it already 
aflfords a safe navigation for large boats; which 
leads me to think that the lake is fed by subter- 
ranean springs ; indeed the whole surrounding 
country is, to use the Indians' expressive word 
completely -s/mkwgr The whole substratum' 
here is water, just as in the kingdom of Naples 
It IS fire. But the former of these phenomena is 
much more surprising than the latter, for it is 
the property of fire to ascend, but it is impos- 
sible to understand how so vast an extent of 
elevated country, which has no higher land 
around it, can remain thus saturated with water 
The Mississippi turns almost immediately to the 
east, then to the north east, in which direction it 
flows into a pretty little lake, which I have taken 


• Wl*^- -" 






the liberty to consecrate to you, by christening 
it Jeromiuc. The river flows out of it again on 
the E.S.E., and, after a course of seven or eight 
miles, passes through another, which I called 
Montdeone, in memory of that illustrious man, 
and as a mark of my grateful remembrance of 
the friendship with which he honoured me, and 
of which death alone could rob me. It keeps the 
same direction for about fifteen miles, describes 
a point towards the east, and then takes its 
course towards the south-west for fifteen miles 
more, to the confluence of the river which the 
Indians call Scisdiaguaij-sibi, or the Heron's 
river, from the number of these birds which inha- 
bit it : it flows from the north-west. I stopped 
there the night of the 2nd instant. 

My Indian guide, who had hunted in all these 
desert tracts, informed me that this river was a 
truly delightful and charming one, and that by 
availing ourselves of its course and of one por- 
tage, we might return to Turtle lake by a short 
cut, saving not fewer than twenty miles. He 
moreover led me to hope that, by silently as- 
cending it, we might meet with some bears, (as 
they abound on its banks, which furnish great 
quantities of wild fruits,) and kill them from our 
canoe. I determined therefore to make known 
to the world this short passage ; and we set out 
on the morning of the 3rd accordingly. 

' J It 


again on 
or eight 
I called 
)iis man, 
irance of 
me, and 
:eeps the 
takes its 
ijen miles 
vhich the 
I Heron's 
aich inha- 
I stopped 

1 all these 
ver was a 
id that by 
f one por- 
by a short 
liles. He 
ilently as- 
bears, (as 
nish great 
[11 from our 
ake known 
we set out 



This river is indeed a touchstone of sensibi- 
lity. It traverses a number of small basins of 
t^ie most luxuriant and variegated description 
But the beauty of the lake whence it issues is 
what prmcipally strikes and fascinates the atten- 
tion. It is certainly one of the most exquisite 
spots in nature. It consists of two basins; the 
first, which we enter on the south, is triangular- 
we then clear a small streight on the north, and 
see before us the other basin, in the form of an 
ellipsis or a circle. Its banks are of a majestic 
character, from the stately and spreading trees 
wh,ch overhang them. I have given it the name 
ot Jorngiam. 

We disembarked on the north side and made 
a portage of four miles; we however left behind 
our I.ttle baggage, whicli we hung up in tlie 
trees, and carried with us only our arras and our 
canoe. We passed through a gloomy forest, 
which abounded in martens, and at the end of 
the portage we came to another lake of an oval 
form, which I called AntondU. We traversed 
Its breadth from south to north, a space of about 
four or five miles ; and then, after clearing a 
narrow pass, dreadfolly encumbered with trunks 
of trees and wild rice, we found ourselves again 
in the Mississippi, precisely at the point where 
.t issues from Turtle lake. Here we passed 
the night; and it very nearly proved the last 


! 1 


night of our lives. A dreadful storm had ahnost 
crushed us under the trees, which it mowed 
down like so many tulips in a garden, or up- 
rooted with the same ease as if they had been 
carrots. We scarcely had time to save our- 
selves with our canoe in the midst of a spot of 
prairie, to which, by a sort of miracle in these 
forests, we very fortunately had access. Had we 
lost our canoe, we should have been completely 
ruined ; for even Indians would have been 
unable to extricate themselves safely from such 
a watery labyrinth without a canoe. 

The place from which we had fled for security 
in the night, we found in the morning strewed 
with immense trees. The forest of the portage, 
which we again traversed, was equally encum- 
bered by fallen trees, and the clear and tranquil 
water of the lakes had become foul and agi-. 
tated. This terrible convulsion was not impro- 
bably the effect of an earthquake. But on a 
tract of territory so boggy and shaking, it was 
scarcely possible to distinguish such an event 
with accuracy. My Indian, for the convenience 
of drying ourselves, kindled a flame under the 
trees which had crossed one another in falling, 
and we soon had a noble bonfire, which com- 
prehended in its blaze some portion of the forest; 
and which not improbably is burning yet. 

Near the lake Torrigiani, on the right, as we 

Till: IJEAVEl!. 




, or up- 

ad been 

,ve our- 

spot of 
in these 
Had we 
^e been 
om such 

f en cum - 
[ tranquil 
and agi^ 
ot impro- 
But on a 
g, it was 
an event 
under the 
in falling, 
tiich com- 
the forest; 
jht, as we 

were returning, my Indian attendant satisfied 
my curiosity upon a point by which it had a long 
while been excited. 

It seems difficult for a traveller to publish his 
adventures without mentioning the castor or 
beaver, even though his travels may have been 
limited to Africa, where this animal is not to be 
found. I should wish to avoid repetitions, but 
I do not distinctly recollect anything that has 
been stated by these ingenious gentlemen on 
the subject, or even what Buffon wrote about 
it in his closet. I will communicate to you 
only what I have myself actually seen, and 
been from good authority informed of, respect- 
ing these astonishing creatures. If I men- 
tion circumstances which others have narrated 
before me, you may consider it as affording 
additional evidence of what you were previously 
acquainted with ; and if what I advance be new, 
you will, I hope, give me credit for adding to 
your information. 

A small river flows into the lake on the 
western side. The beavers have barricadoed the 
mouth of it by a dike, completed in a manner 
which would not disgrace a corps of engineers ; 
the water is thus kept back, and forms^a pond,' 
m which they have erectea their habitations. It 
is proper to notice that the river in question is 



never dried up, as otherwise they would not 
have fixed u])on it for their purpose. 

The stakes fixed in the earth, and the trunks 
of trees which are laid across them, are of con- 
siderable thickness and length. It is difficult 
to conceive how such small animals are able to 
transport such bulky articles. But what is more 
astonishing is, that they never make use of trees 
blown down by the v^^ind, or levelled by the 
strength of man, but select them themselves, 
cutting down such as are peculiarly adapted for 
the intended building, and doing this always on 
the banks of lakes or large rivers, in order to 
avail themselves of the opportunity of conveying 
them by water to the place intended. 

While five or six are occupied in cutting or 
sawing with their teeth the bottom of the trunk, 
another stations himself in the middle of the 
river, and indicates by a hissing sound, or by 
striking the water with his tail, which way the 
top inclines towards the fall, that the operators 
without interrupting their labour may conduct it 
with proper caution, and preclude all danger. Tt 
is worthy of remark, that they never gnaw the 
tree on the land side, but always on that of 
the lake or river, in order to ensure its falling 
into it. 

The whole tribe then combine their exertions, 

• -J , 



Id not 

)f con- 
able to 
is more 
3f trees 
by the 
)ted for 
vays on 
rder to 

tting or 
E trunk, 
; of the 
I, or by 
way the 
induct it 
nger. Tt 
;naw the 
that of 
[s falling 




and float the trunk to the place where it is 
wanted. Here, with their teeth, they point 
the stakes; with their claws dig deep holes 
for them in the earth, and with their paws 
introduce and drive them in. They then place 
brancies against them, and fill up the interstices 
with mortar, which some prepare while the 
others are cutting down the trees, or engaged in 
different departments of labour; for the tax of 
labour is carefully distributed, and no individual 
remains unemployed. The mortar used by these 
vi'onderful animals becomes more hard and solid 
than the finest Roman cement. 

When the dike is completed, and has been 
proved fit for the purpose designed, they effect 
an opening at the bottom of it, by way of flood- 
gate (which they open or close as may be re- 
quired,) that the stream may not be too much 
unpeded. They then commence building their 
habitation in the midst of the mass constituting 
the dike. They never begin to erect the habi- 
tation previously to forming the dike, lest the 
latter operation should fail of success, and they 
should consequently lose their valuable time and 

Their mansion, formed equally of wood and 
mortar, consists of two stories, and is double, i^s 
length IS in proportion to the number of the tribe 
for whom it is intended. 


w • 


TJic first stage, or story, is a magazine in 
common for provisions, and is under water; tiie 
second is divided into dormitories, each family 
having its distinct chamber; this part of the 
building is above the water. 

Under tlie foundations of the building they 
form a number of avenues, by means of which 
they enter and quit subterraneously, so as not 
to be perceived by the most keen and watchful 
Indian ; these all terminate at a distance from 
their dwelling, and in part of the mound consti- 
tuting their dike, or in lakes or rivers, near 
which they usually form their establishments, 
that they may have it in their power to select 
that direction which may be most convenient 
and least dangerous in the various incidents and 
exigencies of their lives. 

Beavers are divided into tribes, and some- 
times merely into small bands, ^ach of which 
has its chief; and order and discipline exist in 
these distinct societies to a greater extent pro- 
bably than among the Indians, or even among 
some civilized and polished nations. 

Their magazines are invariably fully stored 
with provisions in summer ; and no one is per- 
mitted to break in upon this stock until the 
scarcity of winter begins to be experienced, 
unless circumstances render it imperatively ne- 
cessary to violate this rule. In no case, how- 

I 1 

'i'lIK UKAVKll. 


ever, is any one permitted to enter witliout the 
express authority and indeed the presence of 
the chief. Their provisions consist, in general, 
of the bark of trees, principally of the willow 
and poplar species. On some occasions, when 
bark is not to be found in sufficient quantities, 
they collect also the wood of those trees, which 
they divide into distinct parcels with their 

Each tribe has its peculiar territory. If any 
foreigner be taken in the act of marauding, he is 
delivered over to the chief, who, on the first 
offence, chastises him with a view to correction ; 
but, for the second, deprives him of his tail, 
which is considered as the greatest disgrace to 
which a beaver can be exposed : for the tail is 
the carriage on which he conveys stones, mor- 
tar, provisions, &c. and it is also the trowel (the 
figure of which it represents exactly) which he 
uses in building. This violation of international 
rights, however, is considered among them as 
so great an outrage, that the whole tribe of the 
mutilated culprit take up arms in his cause, and 
proceed immediately to obtain vengeance. 

In this conflict, the victors, availing them- 
selves of the customary rights of war, expel the 
conquered from their home, take possession of 
It themselves, appoint a provisional garrison for 
the occupation, and eventually establish in it a 




riii': miAVKH. 


colony of young beavers. In tliis connection, 
another circumstance relating to these truly 
wonderful creatures will a[)peiir not less asto- 

The female beaver whelps usually in the 
month of April, and produces as many as four 
young ones. She sustains, -and carefully in- 
structs them for a year, that is, till the family 
are on the eve uf a new increase ; and then 
these young beavers, compelled thus to make 
room for others, build a new home by the 
side of the paternal mansion, if they be not very 
numerous ; but if there should be too many to 
admit of this, they are obliged to go, with others, 
to a new spot, forming a new tribe and a new 
establishment. If, then, about this season the 
enemy should happen to be driven from his 
quarters, the conquerors install in them their own 
young ones of the current year, provided they 
be duly qualified for emancipation, or, in other 
words, capable of managing for themselves. 

The Indians have related to me as a positive 
fact another circumstance respecting the con- 
duct of these animals ; but it is so extraordinary, 
that I leave you to credit it or not, as you may 
think proper. 

They allege, and some will even assert them- 
selves to have been eye-witnesses of such a fact, 
that the two chiefs of hostile tribes sometimes 




li may 


|a fact, 


terminate the quarrel by a single combat, in 
presence of the two opposing- armies, instances 
of which have occurred in various nations ; or 
by a conflict of three with three, like the IIo- 
ratii and Curatii of antiquity. 

Beavers practice the usage of matrimony, and 
death alone separates the parties. They inflict 
heavy punishments on their females for infide- 
lity, and sometimes even death itself. 

In cases of sickness, they mutually and 
anxiously take care of each other ; and the sick 
express their pain by plaintive sounds and tones 
like the human race. 

The Indians hunt the beaver in the same 
way in which I formerly described them to you 
as hunting the musk-rat : indeed the latter ani- 
mal may be considered as a beaver of a secon- 
dary order. It is of the same shape, only 
smaller, and resembles it in many of its qua- 
lities, but its fur is very inferior in beauty and 
fineness. It may be added, that in winter the 
Indians make holes in the ice which covers the 
ponds surrounding the habitation of the bea- 
vers, and, carefully watching for the moment 
when they lift their heads up to take breath, 
instantly shoot them. 

Great Hare, at Bloody lake, confidently as- 
sured me that, on reaching the spot where two 
tribes of beavers had just been engaged in battle 
with each other, he liad found upon the fi-^'d 


- if] 

i ;,t n 




fifteen, dead or dying : and other Indians, both 
Sioux andCypowais, have equally declared that 
they have occasionally obtained capital prizes on 
the like occasions. It is perfectly correct that 
they are sometimes taken without a tail. I have 
seen one in that state myself, which corroborates 
the history of the punishment inflicted by them on 
obstinate oftenders. In short, these animals are 
deemed so very extraordinary, even by Indians, 
that they consider them as men metamorphosed 
into beavers ; and killing them is regarded as 
conferring upon them a very essential service, 
as it is conceived to be a restoration of them to 
their original state of being. Here, again, my 
dear Countess, is a puzzle for those who are 
desirous of compacting the religion of these 
tribes into a system ! But it is time for us now 
to return to the Mississippi. 

We rejoined it on the evening of the 3rd, at 
the piace where we had quitted it the even- 
ing before, and again passed the night there. 
Our household gods seemed to have expected 
our arrival, for the fire we had kindled there 
was still burning. 

On the 4th, we struck our tents very early, 
and arrived in the evening at Red Cedar lake, 
so called on account of the number of those 
beautiful trees, whose dark green foliage over- 
shadows its islands and banks. 

The Mississippi, from the mouth of Heron's 



river, receives no other, but may be said to flow 
constantly through the midst of water, for all its 
banks are submerged and shaking, though va- 
ried by prairies and forests. Its bed is always 
very deep, and its course gentle and uniform 
It traverses or forms four superb lakes, the 
largest of which is seven miles in circumference 
and the smallest four. I have called them Pro- 
vidence lakes, on account of the fields of wild 
rice which Providence has formed there, and the 
ears of which resemble those of the land of pro- 
mise. After passing through the streight of the 
ast of those lakes, the river enters Red Cedar 
lake to the south, and flows out of it on the left 
at E. N. E., at the end of a bay formed by a 
tongue of land which projects into the lake at 
o. S. W. 

On the right of the entrance of the lake 
accident discovered to us a verj remarkabi^ 
and indeed asto ishing eclio. It was night and 
my Indian and Bois-bmli called out in loud 
voices, as usual, in order to learn the situation 
of the flying camp of the Indians who inhabit 
this lake. Their calls were repeated times 
without number, gradually diminishing in loud- 
ness, and at length fading through the distance 
into extreme faintness. 

This lake is the mn plus ultra of all the disco- 
veries ever made in these regions before my 




own. No traveller, no expedition, no explorer, 
whether European or American, has gone be- 
yond this point : and it is at this lake that Mr 
Schoolcraft fixed the sources of the Mississippi 
in 1819. For the more complete celebration of 
this fortunate discovery, this illustrious epoch, 
he rebaptized it by the name of lake Cassina, 
from the name of Mr Cass, governor of Michigan 
territory, who was at the head of the expedition. 
Mr Schoolcraft was the historiographer. 

The geographers who had previously com- 
prised this lake in their maps, might fairly pro- 
test against this conduct as usurpation, for he 
has infringed on the right which they unques- 
tionably possess of calling it Red Cedar lake, or 
the lake of Red Cedar, a name long since con- 
secrated by usage, and inveterate usage (you 
know) 18 held equivalent to law. You will per- 
haps, remark, that I have myself baptized a 
tolerable number of lakes. Mine, however, 
must be admitted to have been fair subjects for 
the ceremony. They were not only not to be 
found in any map, but they were unknown to 
all the world ; and I trust that flattery has no 
share in my inaugurations of them, as I applied 
to them only such names as were consecrated 
by my veneration for the dead or my friend- 
ship for the living. 

This lake is also to be considered as a large 


Schoolcraft's sources. 


e be- 
at Mr 
:ion of 

■ com- 
[y pro- 
for he 
ake, or 
3e con- 
■e (you 
ill per- 
itized a 
ects for 
it to be 
lown to 

has no 




i a large 


lake, if we are to comprise in its extent that of 
two others with which it communicates by two 
streights on the W. and E. S. E. Some islands 
which intercept the full view of it, are of an im- 
mense size, though they might appear small to 
the eye of the observer who merely passed for 
a moment into its first basin, and, after break- 
fasting there, returned almost immediately by 
the way he came, satisfied with being able to 
say, " I have been there," and with having had 
the portrait taken in a sort of miniature. But 
those who advance farther, and examine with 
more attention, experience no small surprise on 
discovering the vast expanse of water before and 
around them, sufficiently convincing them that 
in those regions, yet more than in others, that 
element covers more than two-thirds of their 
surface ; while the picturesque and enchanting 
scenes, continually presented to the eye, excite 
the most intense delight and admiration. Mr 
Cass represented merely what, as I before inti- 
mated, must be considered as a miniature deli- 
neation (taken from his encampment on the 
western bank of the lake, where I encamped 
myself,) of the western island, which is in fact 
of great extent. As soon as the hasty sketch had 
been taken, he returned to join the expedition, 
which he had left, for the greater part, at Sandy 


VOL. 11. 

F F 



lake, as we shall see at the close of the present 

The figure of the first basin is varied by bays 
and promontories, and four islands divide it 
into numerous arms. One of these islands is 
about twenty miles in circumference, and inha- 
bited by about a hundred Cypowais Indians. 
According- to the opinion of those Indians, the 
circumference of this basin must be considered 
as about eighty miles. That which joins it on 
the E. 8. E., of an oval form, and surrounded 
by gloomy pine and cypress trees, is about 
eight miles. The third, to the west, which is 
nearly triangular, is little less than thirty miles. 
At the bottom of this last lake, on the west, 
is found the entrance of a considerable river, 
which the Indians call Dcmizimagitamagucn- 
sibi, or the river of lake Traverse. It issues 
from the lake, (the second of that name,) twenty 
miles above its mouth, on the N. W. This 
lake communicates, in the same direction, by a 
streight of two or three miles in length, with ano- 
ther lake, which the Indians call J\/o,s'cosao'uai- 
gucjf, or Bitch lake, which receives no tributary 
stream, and seems to draw its waters from the 
bosom of the earth. It is here, in my opinion, 
that we shall fix the western sources of the 
Mississippi. The waters beyond the high lands 



)y bays 
ivide it 
iinds is 
id inlia- 
ms, the 
ns it on 
s about 
vhich is 
y miles, 
le west, 
le river, 

[t issues 
) twenty 
V. This 
on, by a 
kvith ano- 
from the 
r opinion, 
3s of the 
lioli lands 


I.KEeil JUVEIi. 




wliicli surmount this lake flow towards the north 
into Hudson's Bay. 

The Julian or northern sources of the Missis- 
sippi, are about a hundred miles distant from 
Red lake; about that distance, therefore, from 
those fixed by Mr Schoolcraft ; and the sources 
of Bitch lake, or the western sources, are, I con- 
ceive, fifty miles distant. We resume the course 
of the river. 

On issuing- from the Red Cedar lake it turns 
to the east, and continues in the same direction 
as far as lake Winipeg, which is about fifty miles 
in circumference. It traverses this lake, and 
issues from it in the direction of E. S. E. At 
some distance from this, it forms a small lake 
four or five miles round ; and twenty-five or 
thirty miles farther on, in the direction of 
S. S. W., it receives the river Leech, (Caza- 
guaguagine-sibi,) which is the first tributary 
river to be foimci below Red Cedar lake for the 
space of seventy miles, and which flows down 
from the west. 

Its depth and its progress are always the 
same, and these regions may be almost as 
truly said to bathe the river, as that to bathe 
them ; for, to whatever part of the bank we 
direct our view, we see nothinp- but water and 
shaking bog. On the night of the 6th, in order 
to avoid getting in contact with the water, T con- 





. M 

structed a pile formed of three layers of the 
branches of trees, over which I spread my bear- 
skin ; but all my precaution was insufficient to 
' secure me from the springs which bubbled up 
around me; and whenever 1 turned, I felt myself 
rocking as with the movement of a cradle, and 
as if floating, like another Apollo, in the isle of 

While you read these pages, your friendly 
regard will perhaps take alarm at every leaf you 
turn over ; and you will be apprehensive that 
I shall sink under the fatigues incidental to so 
very laborious and novel a mode of life. You 
will be comforted, however, by the assurance 
that I have scarcely felt even a head-ache, 
though, when I wake in the morning, I am com- 
pletely drenched by the dew from above, and by 
the bubbling of the springs below me ; though 
I always sleep in the open air, and am there- 
fore, completely exposed to the inclemency of 
the season, and the attacks of musquitos, gnats, 
emmets, and reptiles ; though my gun only can 
be depended upon for food, and the river for my 
drink ; though, in short, I am surrounded hy all 
sorts of miseries. You may hence, my dear 
Countess, judge of the elevation of these regions, 
the purity and elasticity of the air of which can 
impavt spirits and vigour sufficient to counteract 
such inconveniences and dangers. 




of the 
y uear- 
cient to 
)led up 
ile, and 
3 isle of 

leaf you 
ive that 
tal to so 
B. You 
:ini com- 
, and by 
, though 
n there- 
uency of 
s, gnats, 
only can 
5r for my 
led by all 
my dear 
3 regions, 
diich can 

On the night of the 7th I slept at the mouth 
of this same Leech river. The lake whence 
it issues is a new Colchis, where a second 
Jason found, like the first, a golden fleece ; 
where Mr Pike fixed the sources of the Mis- 
sissippi, fourteen years before Mr Cass fixed 
them at Red Cedar lake. This circumstance 
could not fail of exciting my curiosity, and I 
determined, in consequence, to go and view the 
scene which had given birth to the conjectures 
of the first of my two predecessors. 

We arrived on the evening of the 8th at lake 
Sogahygiu'Uy or Muddy lake. Like those of 
Providoice, it is completely covered with wild 
rice. Only one river discharges itself into the 
Leech before it reaches the lake. The Indians 
call it Bagatwa-sibi, or the Owl. It flows from 
the north. By means of this river and a few 
portages, a short cut may be taken to reach 
Cedar lake. 

On the 9th we arrived at Leech lake, (Kaza- 
gas-guaiguen,) at Macuwa or Bear island, where 
we found a considerable band of Cypmuais plun- 
derers, so denominated from their plundering and 
murdering the first Canadians who pushed their 
commerce to such a dangerous distance. 

This band is very numerous and warlike. I 
found it divided into two factions, one of which 
is actuated by the spirit of legitimacy, the other 






I -i 


cvpowArs I ACT 10 vs. 


by its opposite. The Pokc-slaniouepc, or Cloudy 
Weather, a usurper, contests the crown and 
empire with the chief Esqnibuskoge, or Wide 
Mouth, who possesses them by hereditary right: 
but as these Indians beyond all others require 
for their head a daring and active mrai who can 
conduct them to victory over th'j Sioux, by 
whom they are frequently harassed, instead of 
an idle and profligate poltroon, always reposing 
under the shade of his genealogical tree, and des- 
titute of all merit but that alloved him by his 
flatterers, Cloudy Weather has (he majority on 
his side. The government of the United States 
acknowledges both ; Cloudy Wecther, because he 
declaims in their favour ; and Wide Mouth, in 
order to detach him from the English, to whom 
he is friendly ; but principally, I imagine, from 
the policy of keeping alive division in a band 
powerful in force but precarious in attachment. 
From the observation I have myself m;!de, I 
must acknowledge I am tempted to believe that 
the whole afl'air of apparent disinion may be a 
mere farce originating in Indian craft and sub- 
tlety, having for its object to tu ni to the best 
account the solicitations and liberality of both 
these nations. And in fact they receive the rich 
repasts and grand galas of both \/ith the same 
customary phrases of friendship, devotion, and 
Jideliti/. When an option will J)ccomc absolutely 

i i 

wu and 
3r Wide 
y right: 
A'ho can 
>ux, by 
stead of 
md des- 
i by his 
)rity on 
[ States 
;ause he 
outh, in 
) wlioni 
le, from 
a band 
nude, I 
3ve that 
ay be a 
id sub- 
[le best 
of both 
the rich 
le same 
m, and 



necessary, tliey will probably side with the 
l)arty most skilful in intrigue and most liberal 
in bribes: they will most likely, therefore, 
take part with the English. The fact is, that 
the two chiefs reign respectively over their 
peculiar partisans, or perhaps it may be ^.aid 
more truly, are respectively their slaves. 

On my arrival among them they were in no 
little commotion on another subject, involving the 
two parties in new contention. Cloitdjj Weathers 
son-in-law had been killed a few days before by 
the Sioux, and they had at the same time re- 
ceived intelligence of the affair at Cayenne river, 
and of what had happened to my two Indians on 
Bloody river. Wide Mouth demanded an imme- 
diate war, and was desirous of forming an army, 
of which he himself never constituted any part. 
Cloudy Weather, who is not deficient in sense, 
suspected that this warlike ardour, this extraor- 
dinary eagerness and zeal, were assumed with a 
view to remove him out of the way, and turn his 
absence to his injury ; and therefore, although 
the principal person aggrieved, strongly xQiiom- 
mQw^edi prudence and moderation. 

I had no sooner disembarked than he imme- 
diately called a council of war, which is com- 
posed of the chief officers of the army, and came 
to me to invite my attendance. It is to be ob- 






\^ M 

served, that all these Indians had seen me at 
Fort St Peter. 

He began by observing, that the Great Spirit 
had sent me for the express purpose of giving 
them salutary counsels ; that as the friend of 
their father (the agent) it became me to fulfil the 
duties which the circumstances required of me ; 
that division existed in their camp ; that his 
heart was torn with grief for the death of his 
son-in-law, while at the same time he was aware 
that it would ill become him to sacrifice his be- 
loved Cypowais for the sake of his own personal 
vengeance ; that he had every need, therefore, 
in such a conflict of mind, of consulting with 
that 7nan of another imrldy who had smoked with 
them the calumet of friemhhip, and been a witness 
of the peace luhich the Sioua: had sivuiii to with 
them, &c. &c. My reply was soon made. I told 
them that, being a stranger to the Americans, to 
America, and to the Indians, I neither ought nor 
designed to interfere in their affairs, and more 
particularly in their quarrels ; but that, as it 
was the duty of every one to answer as well as 
he could those who confidingly asked his advice, 
I must declare mine to be that, as they had in 
Mr Tagliawar a father who loved them, and 
who represented the government, they should 
do nothing without his consent ; and that such 



1 me at 

it Spirit 
' giving 
iend of 
ilfil the 
of me; 
lat his 
of his 
1 aware 
his be- 
g with 
?(/ with 


1 told 
ms, to 
ht nor 

as it 

'ell as 


•ad in 




was too the will and command of the (inat 
Spirit. The council approved of what I said ; 
and Cloud}/ Weather offered to accompany me to 
Fort St Peter to consult his Father. 

A few moments after, IVide Mouth sent to re- 
quest my attendance. I went accordingly. I 
found him lying at full length in his tent, like 
old Silenus, in a state of intoxication, sur- 
rounded by his partisans. He began a discourse, 
and seemed to intend introducing into it a num- 
ber of subjects, but I cut short his address, and 
merely observed that wars in general served 
only to gratify the views and passions of the 
ambitious or despotic few ; that the public good 
was often solely the pretext for them, but the 
people always became their victim ; that as to 
anything farther on my part, 1 had nothing to 
do with them, that I had neither time nor incli- 
nation to involve myself in their quarrels, and 
that I referred them to the proposition I had 
just suggested to the other council. This in- 
deed they could scarcely fail of having been 
informed of, for I had reason to know that even 
Indians have among them the same neutral class 
as abounded in Greece of old, and as may be 
found indeed in all parts of the world — ca- 
meleons of all colours — renegadoes of all parties. 
The royal chief, ill satisfied with my observa- 
tions, and desirous of counteracting truth by 







imposture, consulted the oraele rcspectiu;^ the 
event ol' tlie war lie wished to engage in : and 
the oracle was favourable, as might naturally he 
expected ; for the decision was given by one of 
his own priests. 

I cannot repress my astonishment at finding 
the usages and ceremonies of antiquity every 
instant copied or renewed among these Indians. 
Their oracles spoke precisely by the same means 
as did the oracle of Delphos formerly. Instead 
of the Pythian priestess, one of theit ^^riests is 
seated on a perforated tripod completely con- 
cealed under a bell-formed cover of birch bark, 
which has a round opening at the top, thi'ough 
which the divine annunciation issues. Beneath 
the tripod a tube, also made of bark, communi- 
cates under ground with a stove, over which a 
kettle filled with water and aromatic herbs is 
kept boiling, the vapour of which passing through 
the tube has the effect of heating and sublimat- 
ing to what are deemed prophetic visions the 
brain of the officiating j)riest, who utters the 
cries and ravings of a demoniac, and borrows 
on those occasions a language intelligible only 
to the Conjphcci of the Indian sanctuary. My 
Bois-brule himself, though well acquainted with 
the Algonquin language, understood not a single 
word that was delivered. It is a remarkable cir- 
cumstance, that professional jealousy excludes 

rUNKIt.M. (1. UK. MOW, 


all foreign priests from this ceremony, contonn- 
ably to the practice both of ancient and modern 
times ; and 1 liad some ditHculty in pcrsuadinu^ 
tlicm that I was totally unconnected with the 
priesthood, in order to be permitted to be pre- 
sent at it. 1 have been informed that similar 
means are sometimes used for applying vapour 
baths to the sick; and, occasionally, even for 
suffocating the individuals whom the Grand 
Mcclici?ie }unt'd wish to get rid of. 

I was a spectator of the funeral ceremony 
performed in honour of the manes of Cloudi/ 
Weather s son-in-law, whose body had remained 
with the Sioux, and was suspected to have fur- 
nished one of their repasts. What appeared not 
a little singular, and indeed ludicrous in this 
funeral comedy, was the contrast exhibited by 
the terrific lamentations and yells of one part of 
the company, while the others were singing and 
dancing with all their might. I was scarcely able 
several times to refrain from laughing : but the 
ceremony having some resemblance to the usages 
of the ancients, who also on such occasions paid 
and employed together IWiceues and Pncficcc, 
my respect for antiquity and our antiquaries 
enabled me to preserve my gravity. At another 
funeral ceremony for a member of the Grand 
Afed'ieuie, and at which, asrt nuni of another world, 
I was permitted to attend, the same practice oc- 





curred. But, at the feast which took place on that 
occasion, an allowance was served up for the de- 
ceased out of every article of which it consisted, 
while others were beating, wounding, and tor- 
turing themselves, and letting their blood flow 
both over the dead man and his provisions, think- 
ing possibly that this was the most palatable 
seasoning for the latter which they could possi- 
bly supply. His wife furnished out an enter- 
tainment present for him of all her hair and 
rags, with which, together with his arms, his 
provisions, his ornaments, and his mystic medi- 
cine bag, he was wrapped up in the skin which 
had been his last covering when alive. He was 
then tied round with the bark of some particular 
trees which they use for making cords, and cords 
of a very firm texture and hold (the only ones 
indeed which they have,) and instead of being 
buried in the earth, was hung up to a large oak. 
The reason of this was, that as his favourite 
Manitou was the eagle, his spirit would be 
enabled more easily from such a situation to 
fly with him to Paradise. Here, again we 
perceive another trait of antiquity, and a rich 
relish for our antiquarian amateurs, whom, 1 
think, I must at length have completely satis- 
fied. The oak is also among the Indians the 
tree consecrated to the eagle, that is to say, to 


pike's sources of the MISSISSIPPI. 445 

Mr Pike, who was at the head of the expedi- 
tion despatched by the government of the United 
States in 1805, to discover the sources of the 
Mississippi, fixes them at this lake, although 
the river Leech which flows into it on the 
N.N.W., ascends more than fifty miles higher up ; 
and although various other rivers, the courses 
of which are as yet unknown, equally flow 
into this lake. But it was in winter ; the cold 
was excessively severe, and it is no pleasant or 
easy matter to discover sources through ice. It 
is impossible to doubt, that, at a different season 
of the year, and with a less embarrassing party, 
Mr Pike would have pushed his discoveries 
farther. He was a bold and enterprising man ; 
and his expedition to New Mexico, and his glo- 
rious death in the field of honour, merit a place 
in history. He will alvv-ays be entitled to the 
distinction of having been the first who extended 
his researches so far in regions so wild and re- 
pulsive, and that at a time when there existed 
no fort whatever on the Mississippi. 

This lake is interspersed with innumerable 
islands and peninsulas, the latter of which form 
a number of deep bays, that appear to be so 
many separate lakes. That which is to the 
north of the Indian camp exhibits the per- 
spective of a theatre, the promontories which 





M ; 

gradually advance from, each side representing 
so many scenes. The lake has a great number 
of issues, which, by means of various portages, 
aftbrd the Indians facility in traversing, with 
their canoes, either in or out of them, all the 
surrounding territory ; and cross cuts which pre- 
clude the necessity of those wearisome and 
almost endless circuits, that would require to be 
traversed in entering upon it by the Mississippi 
and the mouth of l^eech river. 

By ascending the last-mentioned river about 
fifteen miles, and then crossing two lakes and 
efi'ecting two portages, we may go in one day to 
Red Cedar lake; and the last poaage termi- 
nates at its small basin. 

On the west, we rejoin Raven's Plume river, 
winch flows into the Mississippi, and ascends 
nearly as far as Otter"s-tail lake. 

On the south we descend to the Mississippi 
by Pines river ; and on the south-east by the 
river ^yi^ow, which Pike J4as 4enominated Pilce 

The day and night of the 12th were the 
most dreadful of my whole life. I tremble 
whenever I even think of them ; thank God, 
however, I did not tremble at the time. I was 
aware that, if I exhi))ited before the Indians tlie 
slightest indication of fear, it was all over with 



• ■ , 

mc. I carefully preserved, therefore, my self- 
possession, and an intrepidity, I flatter myself, 
of no easy attainment. 

A number of these Indians, who dnnk at 
two foiuita'uis, had just been visiting the English 
agents at Romainc island, on lake Huron ; and 
among the presents distributed among them they 
had received some barrels of whiskey. This 
was soon circulated through the encampment, 
almost every member of which soon became 
violently heated and maddened by it. 

It is the usual practice of the female Indians, 
when they see cases of intoxication in their own 
tent, or in the camp, to preserve to themselves 
the strictest sobriety, that they may be enabled 
to prevent or mitigate the frequently dreadful 
consequences of intemperance in the men. But, 
on this occasion, the women were more com- 
pletely inebriated than the men, and with the 
exception of a few young persons, all were 
plunged in the most frightful state of intoxica- 

The hell of Virgil, and of Dante, or even that 
painted by Orcagna, at St Maria Novella in 
Florence, in a style so deeply impressive, are 
only faint sketches in comparison w^ith that full 
display of terror and death presented in the 
tragedy now acted; a tragedy exhibiting in all 
their horrors the Bacchantes, the Furies, the 











Eumenides, Medusa, and all the monsters of 
history or fiction. 

Hatred, jealousy, long standing quarrels, 
mortal antipathies, all the ferocious passions, 
were in most exasperated excitement and con- 
flict. The shrieks of tlie women and children, 
mingled with the yells of these cannibals, and 
the hayings of dogs, added the tortures of hear- 
ing to all the agonies which appalled the sight. 

Standing on a mound of earth with my cut- 
lass in my girdle, my gun in my hand, and my 
sword half unsheathed at my side, I remained a 
spectator of this awful scene, watchful and mo- 
tionless. I was often menaced, but never 
answered except by an expressive silence, which 
most unequivocally declared that I was ready to 
rush on the first who should dare to become my 
assailant. Mv Bois-hrule had concealed him- 
self, and I had great difficulty in rallying him to 
my side, where he at length appeared to feel 
more confidence and security than elsewhere ; 
for he became convinced that there was a greater 
probability of escaping the threatened catas- 
trophe by courage and resolution than by inde- 
cision and terror. 

But it became necessary for me, for a few 
moments, to quit my intrenchment. The life of 
the chief, Cloudij Weather, was in danger. I 
was his host, and he v/as the father of the beau- 



:ers of 

id con- 
is, and 
»f hear- 
ly cut- 
md my 
ained a 
nd mo- 
:, which 
•eady to 
)ine my 
d him- 

him to 

to feel 
where ; 


y inde- 

a few 
life of 
g-er. I 
e beau- 

t'lfuMVoascita, who, by giving me timely notice, in 
two instances, of plots formed for my destruction, 
and thus kindling into stronger power the fierce 
and menacing expression of my countenance, 
had been twice my preserver. I darted forward 
with her and my BoLs-hni/c, who was now 
become a hero, and we saved him by disarmiiig 
of their knives the two assassins who had at- 
tacked him, and against whom, merely with a 
small piece of wood, he defended himself like a 
lion. We pushed him into his tent, and com- 
mitted him to the care of a warrior chief, one of 
his intimate friends, who was enjoined to protect 
him and prevent his going out. He found how- 
ever a knife, which had been concealed ; and, 
whether from that impulse natural to Indians, 
which often occasions them in their passion to 
make a victim of the first man they meet, or 
whether through real mistake, he rushed on his 
friend and stabbed him with repeated thrusts : 
we however returned instantly at the call of 
Woascita, and fort'uiately in time to prevent 
the completion of murder. 

On this occasion I. was exceedingly surprised 
and afiected, my dear Countess, by a display of 
genuine magnanimity and generosity. 

The son of the wounded savage, about eighteen 
years of age, entered the tent, and surveying 
with an expression of terrific dignity the as- 

\'0L. ij. (; (i 







U ■ r 

! >i 


sassin of liis parent, with heroic self-possession 
thus addressed him. — "Thou \mst stabbed my 
father . . . thy o\^ n friend ... I ought to avenge 
him, and I could do it . . . but thou vvouldest 
not have done this, hadst thou not been intox- 
icated ... 1 pardon thee." In this young- In- 
dian, the son of Bcar's-hcart, 1 perceived Rome 
and Greece united. He was the hero of the 
day. He was not only able to resist the temp- 
tation of a liquor so exceedingly attractive to 
Indians, but he contributed greatly to mitigate 
the effects of its deadly influence. I embraced 
him with sentiments such as these savage peo- 
ple had never before excited in me. The noble 
conduct of this young man is also one of those 
circumstances which infuse such contradictions 
into the character of Indians, and almost pre- 
clude the power of defining them. In ordei" to 
testify my admiration of his conduct, I gave him 
a liberal quantity of powder, the most valuable 
present that, situated as I was, I could possibly 
bestow upon him. I would have conferred on 
him an empire, had I been able; but my desti- 
tution was even greater than his own. 

On examination, the ensuingday, twenty-four 
were found to have been wounded, seven of 
them mortally, and two dead, one of whom was 
my poor Indian from Red lake. 

Mv Bnis-hrulc also had received a wo\md in 


>ed my 
[ intox- 
nig In- 
of the 
5 temp- 
:tive to 
lb raced 
gc peo- 
e noble 
•f those 
3st pre- 
order to 
ave him 
3rred on 
ly desti- 

seven of 
lom was 

mnnd in 



DKPAurrui: ov Tin. Kois-iiiuLi;. 4ol 

one of his hands. He was desirous moreover 
now of going back to his family, and not with- 
out reason, for the provisions I had left them 
must have been all consumed, and without his 
exertion it would be impossible for them to ob- 
tain subsistence. I gave him fresh proofs of my 
gratitude, as far as lay in my power. 1 pur- 
chased a canoe for him to go back in, and then 
went forward in my own, with Cluudij Weather 
for my companion. The encampment was still 
in a state of agitation, and seemed, indeed, now 
to be menaced with new horrors. To the ra- 
vages of whiskey, and the cruel wars which 
they are perpetually, and often causelessly, 
waging against each other, the Indians may 
justly ascribe their progressive extinction. 

The lake v/as rougli and the weather stormy, 
and I was always a bad navigator. When we 
were in the bay which conducts you to the river, 
a violent wind from the south-east drove us on 
the opposite bank. We again embarked how- 
ever, but all our efforts were useless, and we 
passed there the night of the 13th. On the 
morning of the 14th, I landed at the establish- 
ment of the South-West Company, near the 
exit of the Leech river, in hopes of replacing in 
some measure my Bois-briiU. But we found 
only a single person there, left to take care of tlic 
place; and it was quite impossible for him to 


. .1 




If • 




1 :( 



leave it ; I was therefore obliged to go on with 
Cloud ij Wmthcr (m\\(. ITowever, I obtained all 
the instructions that were necessary to enable 
me to proceed with information as far as Sandy 
lake; and 1 found myself gradually more intelli- 
gible to my new Indian associate. 

We resumed the navigation of the Mississippi 
just where I had quitted it. On my return the 
wild rice was in a state of ripeness, and we 
were consequently in the midst of abundance. 
But, owing to a singular circumstance, I was 
situated like Tantalus, and unable to eat, though 
my food abounded immediately before me. 

When leaving Leech lake, I had parted with 
my large boiler to my Buis-brule, ai.d kept for 
myself only a small one, thinking that Jiis ma- 
jesti/ would be sure to supply the deficiency out 
of his royal outfit. But he had not, in fact, 
brought with him even his bark spoon, and the 
whole of his wardrobe consisted merely of his 
buffalo's skin. On the second day after our 
departure, we saw a hut of Indians in a wood, 
near the river; and my companion, after going 
to speak to them, returned and took up my 
kettle. As he had in the morning intimated 
that it was too small, I supposed that he in- 
tended to change it for a larger one, but he came 
back without any. All my injunctions and all 
my resentment were of no avail. He had 







bestowed it on one of his partisans. These In- 
dian kings, in order to ascend or preserve them- 
selves upon the throne, will actually deprive 
themselves of everything. No being is more 
destitute and miserable than an Indian chief; 
indeed, the results of a blind ambition to rule 
and reit^n are everywhere similar. I was now 
therefore reduced to my tin cup ; from the luck 
of the pot I passed to that of the goblet, or what 
perhaps was about ;i sulHcient allowance for a 
hungry black-bird. My eccentric companion 
laughed at seeing me obliged to go through my 
culinary process three distinct times before I 
could at all appease my appetite, and enjoyed 
the sight of my dinner of three acts as much 
perhaps as he would a comedy. For his own 
dinner he took the rice without any preparation 
whatever, and at last I was compelled to do the 
same myself. 

The Mississippi continues to flow almost un- 
interruptedly over quaking and boggy land, as 
far as down to the little falls which the Indians 
call Kckeb'ican, about seventy miles from the 
confluence of Leech river. At about fifty miles 
we find, on the western side, the Pakcgamana- 
giten, or Hook lake; and at sixty, the Onomoni- 
kana-sibi, or Vermilion river, which enters on the 

These falls may l>e subdivided into six divi- 





■^ M 




KAIJ.S AM) (• AlA I^Af'l'S. 




sions. They commence by a great rapid di- 
vided by a small island, tlic first that occurs in 
j^'oing down tiie river. The vast mass of water 
then proceeds, in a direction nearly vertical, 
to dash against some rocks which, by their re- 
sistance, work it into a state of foam, the opera- 
tion of the sun's rays on which produces all the 
beautiful phen(miena of the rainbow. Impe- 
tuous and boiling waves next rush over an in- 
clined plane for about fifteen paces, and arc 
then hurled down two more successive falls 
at a little distance from each other ; and a second 
ra])id, still niore violent than the first, closes the 
scene : it comprises the space of about a mile, 
which we ]mssed by portage. 

A hill, clothed with mournful cypresses, dark 
[)ines, and majestic cedars, overhangs these falls 
on the west; and a small hillock, verdant witli 
foliage, and luxuriant with shrubs of delightful 
flower and fragrance, bounds it on the east, 
while numerous rocks are seen scattered around, 
rearing their striking forms in the shape of obe- 
lisks and pyramids, and the melody of birds of 
every engaging note and song produces an im- 
pressive contrast to the hoarse croakings of the 
raven. Such a mixture of sublime and roman- 
tic attraction im))arts to this extraordinary scene 
of nature something even of the marvellous. And 
a crash so awful and tremendous m the midst of 

I- 4 


^piil (li- 
ce iirs in 
i' vv.'Ucr 
loir rc- 
nll t|,c 

an iii- 
i<i arc 
' falis 
e.s the 


rill \!)riii\<. i{.\ I'll).-;. 

eternal solitude! I imist leave it to 

to f<: 



4 "io 


coneeption ot so vvond 
spectacle, and to indulge the excjuisitc feelings 
appropriate to it. 

About ten miles from these falls, the .SV/.v.v/r//- 
W(}e)))ic, or 77(mukriffi!; Rdpid.s, presented the 
s|)ectator with another agreeable variety. At 
this place a portage is usually made; but niy 
royal Indian chose to distinguish himself and 
his fellow-traveller from the vulgar crowd, and 
we passed over them in the canoe. What is 
new and extraordinary generally afl'ords the 
mind gratification and delight. This result 1 
experienced on the occasion in question, although 
the agitation of the waves, the rolling of the 
canoe, and the rocks that threatened our couise, 
kept us, for the space of half a mile, 1 may 
almost say, within two fingers'-breadth of eter- 
nity: it was however soon over; we could not 
be said to navigate, but rather flew. 

On the evening of the 17th we arrived at 
Sandy lake, on the east, (Lamito}7ga-agucn) 
which is about one hundred and twenty miles 
from the last-mentioned place, about three hun-- 
dred from Red lake, and about three hundred 
also from Leech lake. In the space between the 
Thundering Rapids, and the exit and discharge 
of the river out of Sandy lake, the Mississippi 
receives JMuskotcnaoi-sibi, or Prairie river, Wa- 





V i 





bi|28 mi 

|io "^^ in*^ 


1-25 ||.4 1.6 

■• 6" 





WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 873-4503 










^ >^ '^O^ 




^ >%r 





haskcsibl, or Roebuck river, Namago-sib'f, or 
Tiout river, and Wabazlo-sibi, or Cypress river, 
all which fall into it on the east. On the wes- 
tern side it receives the Shigoiiki-sibi, or Marten 
liver. Three rapids occur also in the above 
mentioned distance, tv/o of them between Cy- 
press river and Willow Portage, (a place so 
called from a portage which communicates be- 
tween the Mississippi and Willow river,) and the 
third lower down. 

All the maps, whether of former or recent 
date, even those constructed conformably to 
c\vpcdit'io)is, are exceedingly incorrect with re- 
spect to the situation of Sandy lake. They 
place it at the S. E. of lake Leech, though it is 
nearly at the east; and this error draws after it 
others resj)ccting its latitude and longitude. I 
have observed this mistake by the due application 
of my compass, the result of which corresponds 
with the opinions of the Indians on the subject, 
who, indeed, arc very seldom deceived in their 
geographical statements. 

We will now, my dear Countess, rest awhile, 
for we have far to go before we reach the mouths 
of the Mississippi, being as yet only four hun- 
dred miles from its Julian sources. 



!■ I 


Furt St Charles, on the JMhsoiiri, 
Oct. 24, 1823. 

WiiENEVEii I resume my pen to write to you, 
my dear Countess, it is under an implied en- 
gagement with myself to spare at once your 
patience and my own, by presenting only a ge- 
neral view of the most remarkable places and 
incidents that I meet with ; but, continuing as 
I still do, in regions so remote and almost un- 
known, where nature developes herself under 
forms so new and diversified, I am irresistibly 
attracted beyond my designed limits, and my 
system of rapid and sketchy observation is fre- 
quently broken in upon either by the admiration 
of some novel object presented to my senses, or 
by the exquisite emotions which, on particular oc- 
casions and in particular ci;cumstanoes, agitate 



K ' 

; 1 


.sA^■|)^' j.AKF. 


iny heart. It is not every one who is gifted as 
the Turk is, to sit witli the most apathetic indif- 
ference on the noblest monuments of Egypt and 
of ( I reece. Rapidly as I pass over a variety of sub- 
jects, I experience more and more the difficulty 
of being laconic, and at the same time of giving 
you a narrative of my progress with any tolera- 
ble exactness. It is, indeed, nearly impossible 
to avoid occasional repetitions, either through the 
necessity of great explicitness to attain desirable 
perspicuity, or through the deep interest excited 
by occurring scenes and circumstances, when 
describing a river, perhaps tl;»^ ^ ist grand and in- 
teresting in the world, the chief points of which 
may be of the highest importance to future ge- 
nerations, and whose charms and wonders would 
nearly exhaust all the terms which language can 
supply. But let me return to where I left you 
in my last letter — to Sandy lake. 

This lake is a handsome basin, about ten miles 
in circumference. Some neighbouring hills, four 
islands, and a number of small promontories, 
attach to it abundant and agreeable variety. 
The river of the same name issues from it on 
the west, and enters it at E. N. E. By means 
of a portage it communicates with the river Sa- 
vannah, which runs into the St Louis, as that 
does into lake Superior, exactly at the place 
called the End of the Lake, at its most westerly 

:MICiin.I M AKIN Af KSlAin.lSU.M K\'l'. 45U 

point. Tliis passage, from Sandy lake to lake 
Superior, may be effected in two days ; which 
is a new proof that Sandy Ijike is much more to 
the east of Leech lake than it is marked upon 
the maps. Through this channel are conveyed 
all those articles which constitute the staple of 
commerce with the Indians in these regions ; 
and of which, as has been already mentioned, 
iMichiUmahimic is one of the South-West Com- 
pany's twD general entrepots. Sandy lake re- 
ceives on the S. S. E. Wild Oats river, (Meno- 
meny-sibi,) which proceeds to a great distance 
into the interior. 

Its banks constitute the rendezvous of a tribe 
of Indians, amounting to the number of about 
live hundred, who roam in small and scattered 
bands, or even single families, and reunite in 
autumn and in spring to barter with the Com- 
pany. The Company's establishment is near 
the spot where Sandy river falls into the Mis- 

There also, as at Leech lake, we found only 
one person, a housekeeper or guard of the esta- 
blishment, a Canadian, possessed of great good- 
nature and kindness, but who had nothing be- 
sides wild rice and potatoes ; and wlio, to con- 
sole me under my privations, gave me a list of 
those which he had himself experienced, and 
indeed was experiencing still; among others, 




i I 

» ! 

Illli PIN^I I j I'll. J), g" 







; ■ ?l 



ho staled timt he had l)een ten years without 
once tasting" bread : however, lie procured for 
me a kettle, a ru«]f, a little rum, and some am- 
munition. It is only at this season that the 
directors of each establishment are at their post, 
and they were, on my arrival, actually on their 
route; but 1 was unable t(» make any stay. They 
supply the Indians with everything- necessary 
for their winter hunt, and receive from them in 
the spriuiv the skins olitained by them in the 
chace, which they take with them to Michili- 
makinac, where, in summer, they balance thc'r 
accounts, and prepare again for what they call 
their winter (juartcrs, emplo]^ ing the whole of the 
autumn in travelling to them. It was here, as 
I have already observed, that General Cass left 
nearly the whole of his expedition, when he 
went up to Red Cedar lake. 

On the 2 1 St of September I quitted the Ca- 
nadian and the Sandy river. The frost had 
already set in on the night of the 19th. Being 
fatigued with rowing, and desirous of giving free 
indulgence both to my eyes and thoughts, I en- 
gaged another Indian. But I found myself 
again still without an interpreter. 

I will, in the first place, describe to you the 
principal directions of the river as far as Fort St 
Peter, in order to give you in one continuous 
view an idea of its course to that point, and to 


I I r 




iivoid (listractinjr your thoughts, by these details, 
from what is more iuterestinjr to observe, and to 

It Hows W. S. W. as far as Pines river, a 
distance of about one iiundiod and fifty miles. 
It tlien turns, and continues in a course S. S. W. 
as far as Haven's IMume river, about ninety 
miles ; it then proceeds in a southerly course to 
the falls of the Great Rock, a distance of one 
hundred miles; beyond that it runs south- 
easterly as far as Hook's river, one hundred and 
fifty miles lower; after which, finally, it tra- 
verses about sixty in the direction of E. S. E. to 
Fort St Peter; which is just about nine hun- 
dred and fifty miles from the Julian sources, and 
five hundred and fifty frc a Sandy lake. 

As the Sioux much haunt the banks of the 
river, chieHy below the mouth of the Haven's 
Plume, in order to carry on war against the 
Cypowais, I elevated my umbrella as a stan- 
dard, or rather a signal by which they might 
understand that the canoe was navigated by a 
foreign and neutral jwwer. 

Willow river is the first that we meet with 
below the Sandy river. This is the river to 
which Pike gave his own name, and by which 
he first went up to the Leech lake. The Indians 
call it Mmogco-dhi. It is about forty miles 
from Sandy lake. 












ii i! 




llir\I>IU sKHJM. 

WcMc I lo lUMjiniint yon with all Mm* storms 
that I havi' (>x|HMiiMU'c'(l. I should lu' iindrr the 
lU'ct'ssity of cxposini; you almost incessantly to 
ju'als ol' thunder and llasiies of li<jfhtnin«.', : hut, 
nniei) as I am inclincMl to spare yon, I cannot 
iu'Ip noliein;^ that which ocenrn (I on the l!!)th. 
heeanse it was a really remarkable one, 

we were conipellcd to seek a landinL;" ; i.')t to 
find siieltiM' — lor in such a deluf^-e that was ut- 
terly impossiide hut because the 4lrops of rain 
W(Me of so enormous a size as almost instantly 
to till till' canoe. The surface <»!' the river was 
struck by them with such violence, that, over its 
whoU' app(>arancc it I'xhibited the appearance 
ol' a spt)utini;-up lonntain. 

IVals of thunder succeeded each other with 
scarcely the slii»htesl intermission ; but in this 
country the idectric lluid. although excessively 
abundant, dischart;(.>s itscIT simnltani>ously by 
such numerous channels, that the o!)jects on 
which it lii;hts are struck by it less violently 
than in Italy, Our canoe was merely «;ra/e(l 
h\ it. and a tew trees were stripped of their 

The iail o( rain was inexpressibly heavy, 
and must, I imai>ine, have been etpially exten- 
sive, as on the morrow the river liati risen to the 
height of eijiht feet, I'^ven the Indians did not 
recollect an instanc e of .^i) i>reat and sudden a 


IHH IU'( K lir\MN<.. 


tlrr \\\r 
inlly t<» 
m: I Mil. 

M> 'l\n\\, 

; li')l In 
\v;is lit 
; ol" ruin 
ivcr was 
, (tvn" its 

luM' witlj 
111 in ll>is 
Diisly by 
>jccts on 
y i;ra/('(l 
I of tlu'ir 

y heavy, 
lly ext on- 
sen lo tlie 
IS did not 
sudden a 

rise. We ,vere ol)lij^r,.,| to |i(. |,y tj,,. wliole ol 
the 'J.'{|(I, for eveiylhini^r was soaked eoniplclciy 
Ihron^li. and my Indian sovenu^ni was ill. Al 
ni^hl. I wenl willi the other Indian lo hunt the 
I'oehnek, in a manner that was iww to nie. 

Tlic hiniter covers the whole- of his hreasi willi 
a coaliniror oiik-hark, and on a shelf or l(;d.-'c 
atlaehed to this (tarries :i li^rhtcd torch inadi; of 
|)ine-wo<»d. riic roehnck, da//h'd and con- 
fonnded hy his a|)|)(!arance, makes a snchhii 
hall, and the hunter liien lires. We were;, how- 
ever, unsuccessfid. 

At the distance of a hundred miles from Sandy 
lake, we tind the second island that adorns tlu- 
IMississippi. 'Phe Indians cjill it MiniUh, or 
(ireat Island. Between ii and Wild Oats river, 
tlu; Stamp, (or Sossa/fc^of/u/si/nJ the l*itchcrs, 
(or l*}sl,<H'i()l,o(ih()-,s}ln,) the Red (Jedar, (or Kamos- 
li'oahd-.sihi,) which issues from the second lake of 
th;it name, ail flow into the ^qeat river on the 
east; and on the west, the Little Willow, or 
Sisslw(f/u/g( '<) - SI hi . 

At Pin(\s river, (Sln^fumko-slln,) which enters 
also on the ri.t^ht, the chief was disturbed at not 
finding- his son and two of his partisans, whom 
he had appointed to meet him at that i)Iace, 
which they were to have reached by a course of 
[)orta!4-es, in order to gf) down with us as far as 
St Peter's. Willi res))ect to myself, however, I 









was bettor pleased as the case was. I had tliree 
feroeious brutes less to ^uard agahist. These 
three Indians had distinguislied themselves by 
their savage conduct in that horrid scene which 
I gave you an account of in my last letter. 

As far tlown as the Pines the river is gentle 
and even, if we except three small ra})ids situ- 
ated above that river, and which are only at a 
small distance from each other. Its bed is al- 
ways very deep ; its banks wear a constant 
and funereal gloom, everywhere abounding in 
l)incs, cedars, and cypresses. Afterwards the 
scene changes : a lovely island receives the 
waters of Pines river, and divides them into 
two blanches. The great river becomes at once 
more gay and more majestic, and the landscape 
more varied with hills and prairies, copses, and 

At six miles distance I'rom the Pines, five 
islands form, as it were, a crown for a sixth, 
which rises magnificently in the midst of them. 
Nothing but a temple is wanting to give it the 
appearance of another Cythevea ; and, as it was 
not known by any name, I called it by that. 

In the evening of the 26th we were joined by 
a small party of Indians from Sandy lake : they 
were desirous of accompanying me down to 
visit Mr Tagliawar. They were fifteen in 
number, and occupied five canoes. On their 

INPrAV roii.KT, 


arrival, I was employed in eating' my allowanee 
of wild riee, which \ ecmtinued to do without 
even looking at thcni, or uttering- a siuLrlc word. 
I gave my Indian chief to understand that I 
was determined to keep my fire and my kettle 
to myself. After finishing my supper, I ordered 
them to be called ; and, distributing among 
them a little tobacco, I smoked with them the 
pipe of peace and civility. On the morrow, I 
gave each of them a glass of rum, ])ut still with- 
out any communication by word or gesture. 
This, my dear Countess, is the proper way to 
prevent their insolence and command their re- 
spect. They behaved like angels during the whole 
of the voyage, scarcely allowing themselves 
to laugh when they saw me washing my face ; 
and ])robably would have completely avoided it, 
had I been able myself to help laughing when 
I saw them rubbing over their own with char- 
coal or kettle black, or with white, red, or 
yellow clay. They employ miich more time in 
thus completing their toilet opposite a looking- 
glass, than would be required by the most 
fashionable of our coquets tor her smartest gala 
preparations. The rain frequently deranged their 
operations, and it was not a little ludicrous to 
see how it veined and marbled their faces. 

Raven's Plume river is a grand discharge of 
various lakes which on the west empty their 






l()() Mousi \ s(»i i!( I s or rnK .Mississin'i . 

uiilcrs into tlu* lMississi|)|)i. It is a truly iiiii*;- 
nilic'ont river, and, at their conHutnce, is, ] 
tliink, as large as the Mississippi itself. Its 
principal sonree is White Bear lake, where 
Mr Morse's A)iu'ricaii (iuiiilar has plaeed the 
sources of tiie Mississippi. Two delightl'ul 
islands divide it into three branches, at its 
mouth, and render it highly majestic and 

The Wokvo-sihi, which Hows from the east 
about twenty miles from the last river, i.s 
deemed remarkable among- the Indians: it was 
the abode of a Cypowais, wlio j)assed for a pro- 
phet, and it has inherited his name. 

Six miles lower down, the river forms a small 
lake; and how luxuriant and delicious a view 
does it ati'ord ! Nature has scattered over it 
twelve islands, which Lenotre himself could not 
have distributed with finer taste ; and has dif- 
fused over its banks such delightful scenes as 
even Catullus has only inadequately described 
in the picture he gives of his charming residence 
at the lake of Garda. 1 have called these islands 
the Sircm. 

From Bitch river (Mosko-sihiJ which flow.s 
also from the west, we pass through a succes- 
sion of rapids, till we reach that of Great Rock 
(Kckelncauge,) which is a small fall. Here 
generally a portage is made, which we however 

•I . 

, is, I 
il\ Its 
r-etl the 
at its 
lie and 

the east 
liver, is 
i : it was 
br a pro- 
is a snvall 
us a view 
!cl over it 
couUl not 


has (Vif- 
secnes as 

sc islands 

r 1 

lich Hows 

a succes- 

reat Rock 

lall. Here 

ve however 


Island oi iiii- sj n. 


avoided by ])assin^ throiijj^li a narrow channel on 
tlie east, behind an island. This fall is fornud 
by a small strait. The river, conhned between 
two rocks, (brms a j^nlph, from which it rushes 
with a tremendous roaring. 

On the evening of the '28th we encamped 
abont twenty miles I'rom this fall, at a place 
where the river, surrounding a very noble island, 
of a fignre precisely round, suggests to the me- 
mory the temples which the aneients conse- 
crated to the sun, and the Druids to their gods. 
The stately and su])erb forest which embo- 
soms the basin, corresponds hnely with the 
image here suggested. I have named the island, 
therefore, the hUoul of the Sun. 

Between this place and the (ireat Rock, the 
river receives the tributary streams of Wahizio- 
siln, or the Swans (the second ol' that name,) and 
/uinizotj/<>oga, or the Two Kivcrs, which How 
from the west. 

At a little distance lower we find, also on the 
west, the mouth of the Z(tkat(iii;ana-fiil)i, from 
the name of a certain species of wood, which is 
the only kind of tinder that the Indians make 
use of. It is difficult to find a better match : 
I have kept a sample of it among my Indian 
curiosities. The confluence with Pines Tail river 
(Bekozino-sibi) takes place at a very short dis- 
tance farther on the east. 






a i > 


Here is the commencement of extensive prai- 
ries, which spread both to the east and west, but 
are interrupted by woods and thickets. In 
winter, buffalos are frequently found here. 

Between the Bikabikao-sibi, or Shuffle-board, 
on the east, and the Renards (O.raguio-sibi,) 
on the west, there is another fine river also on 
the wpst. It is perfectly unknown even to the 
Indians. I would have given it a name; but as 
't is within only a few days distance from the Fort 
St Peter, I did not choose to infringe on a right 
which might be supposed to belong to the officers 
of that garrison. There are among these gen- 
tlemen men of merit, highly capable of serv- 
ing the government in the plans it seems to 
entertain of exploring and becoming fully ac- 
quainted with this mighty stream, and these 
interesting regions. A single individual, pos- 
sessed of practical philosophy and genuine 
philanthropy, with a moderate knowledge of 
geography and astronomy, would, in a country 
beset on every side with obstacles and difficul- 
ties, and among tribes of men peculiarly subtle 
and suspicious, accomplish much more than an 
expedition fitted out at great expense. For, in 
proportion to the number of persons attacher* to 
the expedition, will be the alarm with which the 
Indians will be impressed by it, the dangers in 
which it will be involved, the wants to which it 

N A 




will be exposed ; dangers and wants which fre- 
quently detain and obstruct it when it would be 
of the utmost importance that it should proceed, 
when advances into the interior of the country 
would be most indispensable to attaining the 
object of their mission. As I have begun this 
subject, I feel bound to communicate to you the 
various reflections I have made upon it. 

The advantages which have been hitherto de- 
rived from these expeditions have not, I believe, 
answered the views of the government, or tlie 
expectations of the public. They have consisted 
of a few plants, with which perhaps all but the 
members of the expedition were acquainted, 
and which swell that mass of unbitdligiblc hiero- 
glyphics, that scientyic but tasteless and terrifying 
nomenclature, unfortunately consecrated by a great 
name, serving merely to overlay the memory and to 
blot out the lovely picture of nature; a few gaudy 
butterflies and other insects, of which we have 
already too many everywhere ; of birds, which 
can only gratify curiosity and luxury; of stones, 
suggesting a thousand conjectures of their nature 
and origin, and which, whether silicious or calca- 
reous, or designated by any other learned terms, 
serve as materials for the idle discussions of 
pretenders to science, but contribute little or 
nothing to the benefit of the public ; — such have 




£ 1 

been the principal results of these pompous and 
costly enterprises. 

The study of natural history is unquestionably 
a study by no means to be neglected, particu- 
larly so far as it is connected with utility. But 
it ought not to be made a principal object by an 
enlightened and liberal government. It is the 
grand business of such a government to study 
practically the nature and character of man, and 
to ])rovide for his real wants; and man, even in 
his uncivilized and savage state, is not unworthy 
of its caref^-il attention. By acting on such 
principles as these, the administrators of the 
power of states may procure a name dear to 
humanity and venerated by their dependants. 

Let a single officer then, a man deserving of 
confidence, accompanied merely by clever in- 
terpreters, and two good rowers, (Canadians,) be 
employed to explore the territory of the Indians. 
Let him attentively observe their manners, their 
customs, their physical and moral tendencies, 
and their means of subsistence ; let him inves- 
tigate, on the very scenes which he visits, what 
must become of these people when their hunts 
fail to procure them adequate supplies, a period 
which now cannot be very remote ; and what may 
be the result of such a crisis to civilized nations 
in their immediate neighbourhood, if, on the one 


BUE A 1) li K FOUK RELI (; I o N . 




hand, these barbarian hunters emigrate or become 
extinct, or on the other turn their attention to 
agriculture and the useful arts. In proportion 
as his views enlarge, while examining closely 
all the local peculiarities, let him contemplate 
the means of facilitating, and turning to the 
best account, a revolution in the manners ol" 
these wandenng tribes so eminently important. 
Let him however begin with secular plans and 
objects; sacred or spiritual ones will follow na- 
turally and of course. In situations such as 
this, bread is the best preparative for the gospel. 
The charity of active beneficence, the grand 
virtue which the gospel inculcates, is of infinitely 
more value than that which consists barely in 
preaching. Before announcino- to these untaudit 
men the beatitudes of heaven, they should be 
instructed in the best means of sustaining life, 
and of enjoying it on earth. The latter is the 
natural and unerring guide to the former; for 
in that merciful Providence to which they will 
be indebted, under a new system of living, for 
sustenance, security, and tranquillity, they will 
readily acknowledge an actual deity, of whom 
they will soon desire a clearer knowledge, to 
whom they will soon present their thanksgivings 
and adorations ; and, after they have advanced 
to this desirable point, then will be the season 
for pouring spiritual reasonings into their do- 


2 ?! 



r 'II 


-. -^- '^»^.mti-om*.-e-\mau^t-< 




i i 

cile minds, and effecting their gospel regene- 

The v/ork of Mr Morse on this subject is 
animated by a piety and philanthropy truly 
exemplary; but it is deficient in that spirit of 
philosophy, without which every physical or 
moral system is destitute of value in proportion 
as it is weak in its foundation. We frequently 
talk of heaven, but our meditations and affec- 
tions are ever recurring to earth, as we are every 
moment experiencing wants which press impe- 
ratively and overwhelmingly on our mortal 
existence. A being therefore so material and 
nnspiritualized as the Indian, must be operated 
upon and absorbed by such wants still more 
than ourselves. This subject, my dear Countess, 
brings to my recollection an Indian chief who, 
when the interpreter was explaining to him one 
of Mr Morse's sermons, in doing which it was 
necessary to make frequent use of the word 
bible, asked eagerly whether the bible was any- 
thiuif to eati 

All the French missionaries in Canada, who 
adopted and acted upon these principles, at- 
tained most completely the object of their 
mission, and made the greatest number of pro- 
selytes among the Indians. They were indeed 
the only ones whom they respected, and their 
memory is still held by them in veneration. 






Below Renard's river, rapids follow one ano- 
ther in quick succession, till we arrive at a place 
where they are terminated by an Arc/iipelago. 
The river here presents a miniature resemblance 
of that sea which proved so noble a theatre for 
the ancient inhabitants of Greece in their strug- 
gles against Darius and Xerxes, before Salamis 
and Artemisia, and which is scarcely less bril- 
liantly distinguished by the present glorious 
efforts of their descendants against the despotism 
and oppression of the cruel Ottoman. It is won- 
derful to observe how this river combines all the 
features of grandeur and beauty, all that can 
affect and astonish. It comprises at this spot, 
within a spacious and enchanting enclosure, 
fifteen islands, rivalling each other in elegance 
and charms. Nature seems to repose with plea- 
sure in the view of them, and to be proud of 
her work, like Michel Angelo surveying his pic- 
ture of the Last Judgment in the Sistine chapel, 
when he exclaimed, Hmv beautiful it is! Even 
the Indians stopped, with some indication of 
emotion, or at least they seemed affected by 


I had here a very fine opportunity of perpe- 
tuating my name in these Indian territories, by 
giving it to this enchanting place ; and you will 
perhaps be surprised at my so completely 







neglecting myself. After my deatli, my dear 
Countess, men will dispose of my name, as 
God will of my soul, according as I shall have 
well or ill deserved during my life ; and I leave 
to my friends and to those who have had oppor- 
tunities of becoming acquainted with my heart, 
the charge of defending my memory, should it 
ever be attacked by injustice or prejudice. But 
not to dwell upon this, a strolling excursioner, 
without commission or pretension, like myself, 
who writes his letters on his knees in the midst 
of vast deserts, as Caesar wrote his Commenta- 
ries on the pummel of his saddle and amidst 
the tumult of a camp, could hardly perhaps 
place himself upon a level with celebrated tra- 
vellers and ]:)rofessional authors. Do not, my 
dear Countess, for a moment imagine that, by 
recurring to Caesar for a little analogy, I 
am weak enough to think myself his rival in 

About seven or eight miles from this Archipe- 
lago, we again meet with violent rapids. The 
Indians encounter them with an intrepidity and 
dexterity truly surprising. They do just what- 
ever they like with their canoes. I frequently 
discovered new subjects of admiration in our 
little pasteboard-like flotilla, which, scattered as 
they were over the surface of the agitated stream, 





frequently led me by their form and movements 
to recollections of antiquity. 

On the evening of the 27th we stopped at a 
place where a roebuck, which my Indian chief 
had fired at from his canoe, had gone to die ; a 
spot of the most delicious sweetness, and to 
which we were led by the merest chance. 

In every situation there are moments when 
man feels a sort of necessity for abandoning 
himself entirely to his own thoughts, but never 
more so than after he has been for some time 
exclusively in the society of an uncultivated 
people, and in the midst of forests and deserts. 
I ascended a slight elevation, commanding the 
river and the adjoining country, and there I 
fixed my camp in complete solitude. In the 
morning, sitting on my bed, which had been 
made by the hand of nature, inclining my head 
against a tree whose spreading top constituted 
my pavilion, and the uncovered part of whose 
root had been my pillow, I beheld the rising of 
that beneficent star which returns every day to 
reanimate the world and rejoice mankind with 
his all-cheering beams. How lovely did he 
appear after such a season of storm ! I saw the 
vapours of the dawn soon scattered by his 
influence, and then beheld, in a new basin formed 
by the river, a new production of nature, as 
perfectly fascinating as it was singular. It was 











r \ 

' K 


an island of a pentagon form, in the middle of 
the river, presenting a model of the finest work 
that ever proceeded from the genius and pencil 
of our celebrated Vanvitelli, the Lazaretto of 
Ancona. I say the finest work, for on account 
of the magic art with which he has so admirably 
and appropriately distributed the offices, both 
sanitary and commercial, and of the difficulties 
which he overcame to accomplish this effect ; I 
prefer it even to those wonderful productions, 
the palace of Caserta and the bridge of Matalone. 
How exquisitely soothing and delightful was my 
bed ! Even the hours of night itself had unfolded 
to my solitary vigils objects of high interest and 
feeling, such as in the bowers of luxurious indo- 
lence perhaps never occur. The moon and stars 
diffused their chiaigeful and fascinating light 
over picturcL of enchanting beauty ; and even 
when the tempestuous weather made my situa- 
tion unpleasant and painful, I stiJl felt something 
amidst my sufferings which raised me above 
them, I might almost say above myself; and 
my feelings might Jiave been envied by many of 
those who stagnate under purple and ermine. 
The Indians call this place Amkitoudcui^ or the 
Great Echo, which however is considerably in- 
ferior to that of Red Cedar lake. It is about 
twenty-five miles below the Archipelago. 

Within a short distance, a considerable river, 


A I 




iddle of 
!St work 
d pencil 
retto of 
3S, both 
ffect; I 
was my 
rest and 
us indo- 
nd stars 
ig light 
nd even 
ly situa- 
e above 
3lf; and 
many of 
, or the 
ably in- 
is about 


le river, 

also without a name, descends from the west ; 
and afterwards, from the same quarter, the 
river Clear Water, (Kaivambio-isibi,) a name de- 
servedly applicable to it. 

The river Kapitotigai/a-sihi, or river Double, 
which enters on the east, and which comes from 
the Thousand Lakes is the termination of the 
voyage on the Mississippi made by fatlier Hen- 
nepin, the first who ever navigated it so high up 
as this river, to which he gave the name of St 
Francis, probably from the day on which he 
discovered it. It is about sixty-five miles from 
Fort St Peter. An island almost completely 
blocks up its mouth. It is a river of considerable 
magnitude, as is also Rook's river, which we 
reach five miles lower down on the west, and 
which the Cypowais call Poamigoan-sihi, or the 
Sioux river, for there these hostile nations often 
meet, and, like Bloody river, it has been often 
dyed with the blood of battles, t saw here a 
bear upon a tree ; but as my own gun and that 
of the chief were as usual wet with the rain, he 
in consequence escaped. At this season, when 
there are no longer any fruits, the bear returns 
to his acorns, and climbs up the oaks to find out 
the softest of them. I should have felt as if I had 
performed an extraordinary achievement, had I 
killed a bear perched on a tree like a bird. 

' 1 





U > * M 




:■' Hi ' { 

f I »' 




IIIK AlOl 11 KIA. 

On the night of the 29th all around us was 
winter, and tlie weather, although so early, ter- 
ribly cold. But I could scarcely help feeling 
myself warm, when I looked at my half-naked 
companions, who had nothing to cover them, by 
night or by day, but a single rug or skin which, 
notwithstanding all their dexterity in managing 
it, frequently escapes from one part while they 
are endeavouring to cover with it another ; and 
even this, their only garment, is seldom entire ; 
for whenever they want a bit of rag to clean their 
gun, they resort to this wardrobe, which indeed 
comprises their whole stock. 

In the morning I shot an animal to which na- 
turalists, if I am not mistaken, give the name of 
nwuffcta. It deserves a few minutes notice. 

It is about the size of a small otter, being 
nearly as long, but its muzzle is much longer 
and more pointed, and its legs are somewhat 
shorter. This prevents its running with suffi- 
cient speed to escape the hunter, who takes it 
the more easily from its not being amphibious, 
and therefore unable to take refuge in the water. 
But nature has given it a weapon of mighty 
power against its assailant, consisting in the in- 
tolerable stench of a liquid which it conceals 
under its tail, (as the serpent conceals its poison 
under its fangs,) and which it darts on the 


us wr.M 
ly, ter- 
cm, by 
in aging 
le they 
!r ; and 
entire ; 
m their 

lich na- 
lame of 

, being 
I longer 
h suffi- 
takes it 
; water, 
the in- 
s poison 
on the 

KIFFCIS t)| I IfimA'liOX. 



pursuer with sucli force, that it reaches him 
•sometimes at the distance of sixty paces. Na- 
turahsts pretend that it is the animal's urine ; 
but in this they are in error, as they are in many 
other of their statements ; a circumstance not 
unlikely to happen to men who study nature 
only in the seclusion of their closets. 

I dissected the animal, and found the fluid to 
l3e contained in a bladder completely distinct. 
I was nearly suffocated by the horrible smell 
which proceeded from it and infected the air 
around during the operation. It almost took 
away my senses and breathing. If it is spilt on 
any clothes, all the essences and detergents in 
the world would be insufficient to disinfect and 
purify them; and it is remarkable that the 
smell is not impaired, or at least only very 
.slightly so, by time. The Indians have disco- 
vered no method of removing it but by burying 
the apparel, that happens to be thus polluted, 
for some days in the earth. It is also worthy of 
notice, that the quantity of this fluid thrown out 
by the animal is always in proportion to its irri- 
tation and danger, as in the case of the negroes, 
who never so copiously exhale the odour pecu- 
liar to them as when they are assaulted or exas- 
perated. The like effei vescence or ebullition is 
also producea by the bilious humour of a sple- 


^ 1 



lU'tic and mclanclioly man, when lie is ^nawod 
by bittrr passion and niortilicalion. 

AWvv passing \\\c contlnrnco of tlif Missaii- 
i!;u(ini-.\i/>i, or rivor Hrandy, on llu* oast, and lliat 
(»r another rivor, which is unknown, on the west, 
I approachi'd tliat j;rand and intt'itvstin^'^ sp(>c- 
lat'Io which I mentioned to yon in my lil'teenth 
hotter, \\\v I'allsoiSt Antony. \Ve heard (he roar 
of tlic enormous mass, whieli rushes down with 
such impetuosity tliat rocks, unable to resist its 
force, are carried away and broken l)y its vio- 
lence. I ab'cady saw rising' from the foaming 
waters a dense ha/e, which concealed the hori- 
zon from our view. The strength of the current 
hurried forward our canoe with alarming rapi- 
dity; and at length I discerned between the 
trees, and in a pleasant back-ground, the roof of 
a house, indicating of course civilized habitation. 
This was the mill for the garrison at the fort. 
On reaching this place, my mind, still dwelling 
on all the grand and terrible scenes which had 
occurred to me in the course of three months, 
while traversing eternal deserts, among barba- 
rous tribes and unknown regions, was agitated 
with emotions which I could scarcely describe 
or discriminate. 

The sight of this object, which announced my 
approach to the residence of cultivated man. 

— ■ - 1 




prod iced in inc ii conflict of opposite fcclin;;s. 
I rc^n-ctlcd the indcpuiuh^ncc of sava^'c life, 
Nvliilt! at the saniir time I experienced a thrill of 
<leli^dit at returning within the sphere of eivi- 
Iiz(!d society. 

After havinn^ clean;d the portn«(e, I completed 
my Indian toilet for the last time; that is, I 
shaved myself vviihont either soap or «r|ass, and 
with razors which were much likt^ saws. { 
took my hath in the river, and dressed myself 
as well as J was able, in order to appear at the 
fort as decently as possible. Hut I was beset 
on all sides with dirt and srpialidness : these 
|)erhaps have in fact formed the greatest of my 
sufferings. My liead was covered with the 
])ark of a tree, formed into the shaj)e of a hat 
and sewed with threads of bark; and shoes, a 
coat, and i)antaloons, such as are used by Cana- 
dians in the Indian territories, and formed of 
orio-mii skins sewed together by thread made of 
the muscles of that animal, completed the gro- 
tescpie appearance of my person. I am indebted 
for my new wardrobe to the fair Woascita, who 
had compassion on the nakedness to which the 
thorns and brambles of the forest had reduced 
me. The Indians attach a high value to the skin 
of the orignal, which is the most beautiful of 
quadrupeds, the monarch of rein-deer, and only 
very rarely to be met with. The ijift therefore 


I I 



! I: 


is valuable in itself, and as such I shall preserve 
it with care, but still more as a memorial of 
regard and friendship. Wuascita deserves tlie 
appropriation of a few pages to record her merit, 
nor probably would they by any means be des- 
titute of interest. But the world has been so 
filled with Attains, that history is no longer 
deemed worthy of credit. 1 therefore check my 
pen. On some future occasion however it is by 
no means impossible that I may more worthily 
record her genuine excellence. 

My Indians announced their approach in the 
customary manner, that is, by the discharge of 
guns loaded with ball, and with shouts and 
chants accompanied by the sound of their har- 
monious drums. 

Melancholy rumours respecting my safety had 
been circulated at the fort, and young Snelling, 
on his return to it, having expressed the appre- 
hensions he felt on my account when we ]3arted 
at Pembenar, had thus strengthened the belief 
in them. These gentlemen in fact supposed me 
to be dead. 

On the arrival of the flotilla all the officers 
hastened down to enquire about me. They were 
answered by the supposed dead man himself. 
While replying to their kind questions I divested 
myself of the skin covering which I had on, in 
the disguise of an Indian ; a character which my 


>rial of 
es the 
' merit, 
)e des- 
>een so 
3ck my 
it is by 

1 in the 
arge of 
lis and 
sir har- 

'ety had 



2 parted 
e belief 
Dsed me 

ey were 
d on, in 
hicli my 



countenance and general appearance greatly 
contributed to my supporting. I saw 'n the ex- 
pression of their phys'ognomies both a move- 
ment of surprise, and sentiments of affection and 
friendship. The excellent Mr Tagiiawar em- 
braced me in the most cordial manner, and the 
colonel, his respectable wife, and his children, 
received me with demonstrations of the most 
lively joy. I was much moved, and could not 
help shedding tears of gratitude and attachment. 
This was the first time since r te began to steep 
my existcLce in anguish that I beheld a gleam 
of those happy moments which, in Italy, friend- 
ship always procured for me whenever I returned 
from my occasional absences. And during the 
short time that I remained among them I expe- 
rienced nothing of the consci aint, nothing of the 
cold and formal politeness which Americans in 
general are accustomed to affect, particularly 
towards strangers, and which, like a moral rust, 
tarnishes their natural benevolence and impairs 
the value of their hospitality. They were in- 
dignant against Major Long for acting towards 
me in the miserable manner that he did. With 
respect to myself, I felt towards him a sort of 
gratitude for having by his disgusting manners 
only strengthened my determination to leave him, 
in order to discover the sources of the king of 
rivers ; and it is partly to him that I am indebted 







|i li M 


for the fortunate success of my enterprise, ns 
the Americans arc for tlie jealousy whieli tliat 
success has excited in them. 

My Indians arrived in time. Wc found there 
deputations from ahnost all (he distant hands of 
Sioux, ^^ho exhibited a novel spectacle, and in- 
deed a somewhat imposing one, by the pomp 
and diversified costumes which the respective 
deputies displayed in the assembly, where they 
were all met, to present to Mr 'I'ajj^liawar their 
homage and complaints, their pretensions and 
their comj)liments. ^'hey smoked new calumets 
of peace, and 1 again became a witness on the 
occasion, (lod knows how often this ])eace 
may have been violated before the moment in 
which I am now relating: it! 

1 learnt from these dej)utations themselves 
the correctness of the idea which had suddenly 
struck me, when my two (yy])owais were at- 
tacked on liloody river. But they were eager 
to convince me that it was also out of regard for 
myself that they had abandoned the field of 
battle. I pretended to believe them, and with 
great profession of gratitude thanked them, 
making them a present of some tobacco. They 
told me, moreover, that I had acted judiciously 
in maki.ig myself known to them by means of 
my umbrella signal, as I should otherwise have 
experienced a shower of balls as well as arrows. 





f (lid not forget to notice and recommend my 
Ihis^hrulv to Mr Agent Tagliawar. His un- 
liappy family deejily interested me. 

That gentleman objected to mc ii» du; first 
])lace the had (Qualities of the man, his aversion 
to the Americans, his connection with the Itlng- 
lish. The charge was certainly true ; and 1 did 
not nndertake to justify hinj. I5ut if we cannot 
sulxlue a dangerous enemy, we should, I ol)- 
scrved, try to win him over hy caresses. This, 
I remarked, was a maxim with greater politi- 
cians than ourselves. I added that this was the 
policy of llerennius, when the Samnites en- 
quired what they should do with the Romans 
whom they luHd blocked up in the Caudinc 
valley, and which the encpiircrs were so very 
injudicious as to reject. \ even ventured farther 
to observe that, as long as tljis man was debarred 
from tasting American br(;ad, he would be con- 
stantly tempted to assuage his misery with that 
of the English ; that, after having in vain offered 
his services, he would become a declared enemy, 
as hatred may be sometimes pardoned, but con- 
tempt never can be ; that he had great influence 
over the whole of these Indians, in the midst of 
whom he directed and governed alone ; and 
finally, that he was by far more dangerous 
from uniting great talent with great guilt. Mr 
Tagliawar, whose disposition is naturally kind, 


( i 

'I i 



■t \ 

.'i u 





was convinced of the justness of those observa- 
tions, and approved the sentiments ])y which 
tliey were dictated ; and he accordin<]^ly gave 
me a commission, wliich 1 sent off immediately 
to the Bois-hrnli''. by Cloudy WaiUnr. Titus com- 
puiincd, with reason, that he had lost a day 
when its course had been unmarked by some 
act of beneficence ; for those houvs. which recall 
to our recollection benefits performed to huma- 
nity, are the most valuable and delightful of our 
lives. They furnish an inexhaustible source of 
consolation, which will never quit us on earth 
but to conduct us to unrlloyed enjoyment in 

I did not neglect the opportunity of sending 
by the above conveyance some memorial of my 
ardent gratitude to the beautiful Woascita, and 
of my admiration to the young hero of the 
dreadful tragedy of the 12th, Before I for ever 
take leave of my Indian king, I must add one 
word to all that I have already said respecting 
him, in order to fix your ideas as much as pos- 
sible on the subject of the sentiments or instinct 
of these peculiar people. 

You have seen from my last letter that I saved 
his life at the peril of my own, and that I pre- 
vented him from completing the murder of his 
intimate friend. He frequently talked of this, 
and mentioned it in a very handsome way, but 




never manifested the slightest degree of grati- 
tude. Even a dog, after such events as these, 
would have continued to manifest his thankful 
feelings for a long time by gestures and caresses. 
I made him several presents to compensate for 
his services as my pilot ; but I gave the kettle 
which 1 had bought at Sandy lake to my other 
guide, with a significant smile, intimating to 
his majesty that I intended by this to punish 
liim for parting with the first so very unseason- 
ably to one of his [)artisans. Without entering, 
however, at all into my raillery, he haughtily 
turned round to me, saying, " Thou hastfmjucritli) 
rcproaclicd m ivUh hciii^ vindictive ; but at IcaM wc 
are vindictive for objects of comcqucncc and value, 
while you Whites are so for the merest trifles." My 
presence had saved these men twice from the 
ambushes of the Sioux, on Bloody river, and on 
the Mississippi, near the Raven's Plume, where 
a party was lying in wait for them, and spared 
them solely from their observing my signal of 
the umbrella; yet before they left me, they 
said, ** Thou art always obliging us to make peace 
with the Siou.v, that they may murder us more 
securely.'' However, I still think, that the Cy- 
powais, speaking generally, are less barbarous 
and depraved than the Sioux, and perhaps more 

I was very desirous of resuming my project 


y iUi 






of passing from Fort St Peter to that of Council 
Bluff on the Missouri, across the deserts which 
separate them; but, besides the circumstance 
of the season being too far advanced in these 
excessively cold climates, war was raging in the 
countries through which I must have gone, and 
would have rendered my plan somewhat hazard- 
ous. To satisfy your curiosity on this subject, 
I will explain my meaning in a few words. 

A new American Company, under the de- 
nomination of the Missouri Fur Company, has 
just started a new system of speculation on the 
Indian territory, which is, in fact, a new aggres- 
sion on the property of these people, and an 
addition to all the numerous vexations and op- 
pressions to which the rapacity of civilized na- 
tions has exposed them ever since the discovery 
of America. This Company has engaged, and 
keeps in pay, a number of men to become hun- 
ters themselves in those parts where the most 
valuable animals are most abundant, and conse- 
quently to usurp the rights of the Indians, and 
destroy the only means of subsistence now left 
to these miserable nations, — to whom Mr Morse 
would, in exchange, communicate the Bible, 
thus profaned as it is every moment before their 
eyes ! This newly-raised legion was attacked in 
June last by the Rikara Indians ; and, after 
sustaining a great loss in killed and wounded. 

m.-^ «•-•«•-*« ,1.^ 



s which 
n these 
g in the 
ne, and 

the de- 
nu, has 
I on the 
and an 
ind op- 
zed na- 
id, and 
le hun- 
e most 
is, and 
ow left 
' Morse 
e their 
!ked in 
, after 

had barely time to make a retreat. Colonel 
Leavensworth, the commandant of Fort Council 
Bluff, was called in to their assistance, and he 
immediately moved up the river with three hun- 
dred men ; but, on arriving at l.e camp of the 
rebel Indians, struck perhaps with the injustice 
of the cause of the new adventurers, instead of 
avenging the American blood and name, as was 
expected, he granted terms of ■ -ace : and, at 
the moment I am writing, the^only war that 
exists is carried on in the newspapers, between 
him and the agents of the new Company. 

I left Fort St Peter on the 3rd of October. 
Though I have in general the greatest aversion 
to return the way I came, yet the Mississippi 
has still developed to me new charms. I could, 
indeed, never restrain my admiration of it. What 
a beautiful — what a majestic river ! 

Our voyage was very favourable, in a decked 
vessel called a keel-boat; and I found excel- 
lent company in some gentlemen travelling from 
the military academy at West Point, near New 
York, and whom I met with at Prairie du Chien, 
to which place they had conveyed recruits by the 
route of the lakes and Owiscons'mg. 

These gentlemen are going with the rank of 
officers to Fort Council Bluff. They are very 
well informed, as those generally are who come 
from that establishment, which is the Poly- 





technic School of the United States. What 
a pity it seems, that they should be thus 
doomed to pass their days in such inhospita- 
ble wilds, remote from all respectable society, 
and surrounded by such a corrupt and dege- 
nerate race of beings as the Indians in the 
neighbourhood of these establishments always 
are ! Thus delivered up to their own manage- 
ment and discretion at a season of life sus- 
ceptible of all kinds of impressions, it is to 
be feared that they may soon forget the know- 
ledge they have acquired, and that the polished 
manners, moral principles, and elevated senti- 
ments they now carry with them, may be suc- 
ceeded, at no distant period, by habits of in- 
temperance and libertinism. The government 
is, in my opinion, much to blame for not 
having established a professor of mathematics 
at Council Bluff, and another at Fort St Peter, 
in order to keep up the knowledge of the young 
officers it appoints to them. Besides with- 
drawing them, by this means, from the danger 
of idleness, they would be training a number 
of men to become useful to the Indians, to their 
own country, to government, and to society ; 
and the expenses attending expeditions from 
Washington might well be spared. The ap- 
pointments in these expeditions are often as 
ill arranged as possible, and prove that favour- 


itism may prevail in a republic as well as in a 

From St Louis, which I reached on the 20th, 
I am now arrived at the place of date, for the 
sake of a milder climate and a little repose. 

1 f 

t . 

I '» 


Nctv Oiicam, I3t/i Da. 1823. 

The day of my arrival at New Orleans was a 
day of real consolation. I had long been de- 
prived of all correspondence with those whom I 
most esteem and love. Judge then, my dear 
Countess, of the delight I experienced on find- 
ing at this place two letters from yourself, and 
others from various relations and friends : it 
was the d^y on which I began to contemplate 
with less regret and frequency than before the 
independence of savage life. 

I wrote my last letter to you from St Charles 
on the Missouri. The course which I am now 
going to take, from that place to the mouths of 
the Mississippi, you are partly acquainted 
with ; I mean that part between St Louis to the 


.' i. 



mouth of the Ohio. We have now, therefore, 
only to survey the territory intervening between 
the Ohio and the Gulpli of Mexico, whicli has 
been described by geographers and even cele- 
brated by poets. Think not that I mean to 
follow the example of the latter. I do not 
mean, as I proceed in my extensive tour, to lull 
you to sleep, in order to make you dream like 
them at the expense of truth and common sense ; 
to embellish agreeable fictions, or to adorn with 
flowers the truly gloomy and monotonous banks 
of this part of the Mississippi. I have described 
to you the enchantment which I felt at the sight 
of the admirable scenery which it presents from 
its origin to the Ohio. I shall now only call 
your attention to a few points, in order to render 
more complete your view of the entire course of 
this truly great river, and to notice some pre- 
vailing geographical errors. 

St Charles is a handsome little town, though 
as young as the Missouri State, of which it is 
the capital. It is situated on the left bank of 
this great river, twenty-two miles from St Louis. 
Opposite to it, on the right bank, there is a 
small town forming a charming object in the 
view, and fronting the little capital on the south. 
Rows of finely tufted trees which line the banks 
of the Missouri, ornament it on the west and 
cast ; and on the north luxuriant meadows furnish 

^ 1: 



w lu'iuitifiil |HM*s|H'c(iv(\ dosed l)y the woods 
wliii'Ii boidrr the INiississippi. 

Hy its sitiialion if would svc\u drsliiuMi lo 
beconu' a plai't^ of j^iviit imporlancc ; and ils 
prot^ross would he still more rapid (liaii it is, 
but lor the oouspiraoy of a low si>Uisli specula- 
tors to rtMuove from it the scat c>rf;ovcriinicnt, in 
order to fix it at the mouth of the Osa^e, about 
three hundre(' miles farther up ; the object of 
which is to increase the value of considerabh^ 
j^rauls or accpiisitions of land, >vhi('h they have 
obtained there at dilfcrcnt times by ditrerent 

About four miles to the south of St Charles, 
there is a small village precisely corresponding 
in fact to the name it bears, and which is 
Florissant. It lies in the midst of a magnifi- 
cent plain variegated by wood and prairie, and 
in which the operations of the plough have 
been already highly extensive and productive. 
INl. Dubourg (the bishop of St Louis) has already 
formed an establishment of nuns, well calculated 
to ])romote the education of the daughters of the 
persons residing there ; and also another of 
Jesuits, by whose means he ])roposes to spread 
the Catholic religion among the Indians dis- 
persed over the border countries. May they 
answer the evangelical and jihilanthropic views 
of this prelate, if he sincerely entertain such ! 

< 1, 

I'll A I im: or sr <maui,i..s. 



umI lo 
iiul its 
\ it is, 
unt, in 

)j('Ct of 

«y \\\\\c 

hich is 
ic, and 
h Irave 
s of the 
other of 
o spread 
ans dis- 
ay they 
)ic views 
in such ! 

Hut the ullra-jesuitism whirh he has hitherto 
pionml^^^ated, and is still ineessantly pioinult,M- 
tiiifX, authorises tin helief that he is merely the 
zealous tool nrtlic junia of Montroui^e. Several 
vvell-inlorined persons have assured nie that the 
principle of these i^^cntry is in perleet ae(;or(lanee 
with the vuljj^ar maxim *' to stick hy one another." 

I^'rom St (vharlcs I returned to St Louis across 
an iininensi- prairie, which conducts, at I'i.N.i']. 
to the Sioux portajjje. Small hills or mountains 
are scattered over the prairie in p;reat |)rofu- 
sion, and, on account of their form, arc culled 

h'roin tlie tops of these hills the vyv. is pre- 
sented with a view of the, m(>st delij^htful and 
impressive; eliaracter tin; encounter Ixitwecn 
two rival streams, which, after min<,dinj( tlieir 
waters, an; seen for a louf^ (hstance flowin*^ on 
with majesty and beauty. Setting out in their 
course at a considerable distance from cacli 
other, altliougii nearly in the same latitude, they 
traverse an immense extent of territory inces- 
santly rlrawing nearer to each other, down to 
the moment when the more impetuous Missouri 
rushes on the Mississippi, and darkens its 
stream by mixing with it waters less clear but 
more salubrious. From the summits of these 
hills we look down upon a country the most 
variegated and enchanting, at the sight of which 




,f 1 

1 ' » I 

even the most material and sensual of human 
beings can scarcely help becoming spiritualised 
and meditative. Herds of cattle and flocks of 
sheep, intermingled frequently with the does 
and roebucks, with pelicans, cranes, swans, and 
golden plovers, which feed without collision or 
jealousy over the vast expanse with which they 
are surrounded, form delightful varieties in this 
magnificent display of nature. These hills, 
moreover, seemed to constitute one grand In- 
dian cenotaph, which naturally furnishes a 
strong presumption in support of the opinion, 
that these people were formerly extremely nu- 

The highest pyramid of Egypt would, I con- 
ceive, be compelled to lower the standard of its 
preter >ions before the Nipples of the prairie of 
St Charles ; for unquestionably it does not com- 
mand the prospect of two such superb rivers, 
such verdant plains, such fragrant groves, or so 
many interesting tribes of animal life as serve to 
diversify this astonishing spectacle. 

From this spot, my dear Countess, I again be- 
held the chain of perpendicular rocks resembling 
the substructions of the palaces of Pompey and 
Domitian, which I mentioned to you in my Four- 
teenth Letter. The illusion is complete. And 
as I viewed these rocks rising above the thatch- 
roofed village of the Sioux Portage, I fancied 



locks of 
he does 
ans, and 
lision or 
lich they 
js in this 
se hills, 
rand In- 
lishes a 

mely nu- 

Id, I con- 
ard of its 
prairie of 
J not com- 
rb rivers, 
ves, or so 
IS serve to 

[ again be- 
mipey and 
I my Four- 
ete. And 
he thatch - 
I fancied 


that I beheld the palace of Armida looking down 
from its haughty eminence on the humble cabin 
of Baucis and Philemon. 

The Sioux Portage is so called, because for- 
merly the Sioux extended their territorial pre- 
tensions to this point, and made a portage here 
for the sake of a short pass from the Mississippi 
to the Missouri, over the tongue of land extend- 
ing between these rivers to the point of their con- 
fluence. It exhibits a collection of about thirty 
huts, inhabited by a people who have descended 
from Indians, and who may be considered as 
demi- India:! s. 

These poor creatures, on hearing that I was 
an Italian, pressed around me — men, women, 
and children — with a warmth of feeling abso- 
lutely filial, enquiring for intelligence of their 
common father. " Do you know him? (they 
asked.) Oh, what a deal of good he has done 
us ! what love he has shewn for us ! what suf- 
ferings he has gone through for us ! We shall 
never have another father like him ! We have 
perhaps lost him for ever ! " Atfected by such a 
scene of tenderness, I enquired who it was that 
they so much regretted. They then named 
M. Acquaroni, an Italian priest. This ecclesi- 
astic, during a residence of three or four years 
among this w^orthy people, had become their 
idol, by the piety and charity which had dis- 
tinguished his ministry. To give all he had to 


K K 



I < 

'( ' 

feed the poor ; to collect for them ; to cultivate 
the ground with his own hands, in order to ob- 
tain a subsistence for them as well as himself; 
to rest from bodily labour merely for the pur- 
pose of engaging in spiritual ; such was the life 
of this excellent misr^'^iitiry. I have had the 
pleasure here of being introduced to him, and I 
embraced him with sentiments of attachment 
which true virtue only can inspire. He is vicar 
of this cathedral, coadjutor of the abbe Moni, 
who is himself eminent for his meekness and 
christian virtues. When I meet with a good 
priest, or a good king, it is a day of happiness 
and triumph to me, as 1 deem nothing on earth 
more truly venerable. That I have so seldom 
opportunities of exercising this veneration must 
be ascribed to kings and priests themselves. To 
find those who are truly worthy of it, is nearly as 
difficult as the search after the philosopher's stone. 

1 departed from St Louis on the 9th of last 
month, with arms and baggage ; by the latter 
of which I particularly mean my Indian curiosi- 
ties, and my faithful companion the celebrated 
canoe of Bloody river, for which I also engaged 
a passage in die Dolphin steam-boat. 

Human infirmity will ever be discovering and 
exposing itself. I must acknowledge it to you, 
that I am as yet inconsolable for the loss of my 
highly valued canoe, and I am convinced I shall 
still be so for a long time to come. The captain 



was a man of an austere and unkind nature, 
and, indeed, wholly destitute of politeness. 
Without the slightest attention to my remon- 
strances, he seemed resolved to place it with- 
out care or caution in contact with the out- 
side of the steam -boat; which, happening 
to get a-ground about seven or eight miles 
from St Louis, the violence of the shock broke 
my poor canoe to shivers. How can I pos- 
sibly help lamenting my much-loved little skiff, 
which had conveyed me in safety amidst a 
thousand rocks and over a space of more than 
two thousand miles ! We had sustained toge- 
ther such a number of vicissitudes — we had by 
turns carried each other — we might be sup- 
posed to cherish mutual hopes of recalling in old 
age the embarrassing and difficult regions we 
had traversed, the labours we had endured, and 
the dangers we had defied. Alas ! a single in- 
stant destroys our illusions, and has reduced 
to annihilation the object of my sincere attach- 
ment ! My mind, long ruminating on mournful 
ideas, accustomed to reflect even on the slightest 
incidents of life, beholds in everything around 
me the destiny that overwhelms me, and the 
melancholy impress of human fragility — the si- 
tuation of one who has the misfortune to survive 
that which he held most dear. I owed a tri- 
bute of gratitude to my departed vessel, and 
liave written the following epitaj))! on it. 

"*??**?*r — 


Quod pctis infandiim, Dilecta Liburnica, fatnm ! 

Vesuvioquc proctil Stahia * diia libi est. 
Vidisti jam tanta ubicmiique pcrituda victrix ; 

Te(|ue triiimpbantcm ca'dit iniqua mantis. 
Indomitas sprcvisti mccum, sawasepic catcrvas; 

Sed solns rcpetam, tc perciiiito, Lares. 
Nunc cris in supciis index Mortalibus alter. 

Exultant fletu sidera cuncta nieo. 

! t 

You may recollect, my dear Countess, that 
wooden house which I have already mentioned 
as apparently rising out of the water at the 
confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi. On 
repassing the spot at this time I could not per- 
ceive it; though my eyes searched for it with 
the utmost eagerness I could see nothing. I 
imagined that it had been swallowed up : it 
was however at length pointed out to me at a 
great distance from the bank, to the E.N.E., 
of the confluence. This phenomenon, which 
would be highly curious on our petty rivers, is 
far from being so here, where it is renewed every 
year. The periodical rising (which is sometimes 
truly extraordinary) of these two large rivers, 
had placed it in the middle of the waters, and 
these on withdrawing within their regular chan- 
nel, had left it as it now stood, on dry land. 

* It was in his liburnica, or little boat, and near ancient 
Stabia, in the gulf or crater of Naples, that Pliny was de- 
stroyed by the ashes of Vesuvius, in the eruption of 79, in 
the reign of Titus. 



ss, that 

at the 
)pi. On 
not per- 

it with 
ing. I 
. up : it 
me at a 
, which 
ivers, is 
2d every 
3 rivers, 
3rs, and 
ar chan- 
ry land. 

ar ancient 

ly was de- 

of 79, in 



The steam-boat having stopped for a supply of 
wood, I had the curiosity to take a nearer view 
of it, and found it to be really the same 1 had 
first noticed. It was erected on piles fifteen 
feet in height, which, when I saw it first, were 
entirely concealed by the water. To enable 
you to estimate the astonishing increase of these 
two rivers in spring, it is as well for me to men- 
tion that the house in question is at present as 
it were upon a hill more than fifty feet above 
the level of the waters. The Naiads had de- 
serted the place, to avoid the insalubrity of its 
air in summer. 

The river below the mouth of the Ohio is 
very wide, and comprises within its bed large 
islands : that known by the name of Wolf 
island is the largest that it meets w^ith or has 
formed in its course, being five miles long and 
two wide. It is at this part also that the river 
is widest, it being estimated to be here six 
miles broad. This place is about eighteen 
miles from the Ohio. The Mississippi, from 
the Ohio to its several mouths, with scarcely 
an exception, passes through a country re- 
markably flat. 

New Madrid, forty-four miles from Wolf 
island, is in fact neither new nor old. It is now 
nothing. An earthquake in 1812, and another 
in 1819, destroyed or swallowed up the houses 
which composed it, and which indeed were but 


Ii ) 

few and mean. Its situation however is well 
adapted to become an entrepot of commerce be- 
tween civilized nations and the Indian tribes in 
the rear of it, and this might have rendered it a 
place of considerable consequence. The land 
on which it stood, and that around it, has sunk 
considerably, and is now unfit for any purpose 
whatever. The Mississippi, like all great rivers, 
has its periodical overflows, generally in May or 
June, when its inundation spreads often to the 
extent of a hundred miles. It then constitutes 
what may be almost called a sea. 

Forty-three miles lower, the river has opened 
a new passage for itself across a peninsula, 
which is now become an island. This extraordi- 
nary event happened no longer ago than two 
years, and is as yet unknown to geographers. 
This new pass saves more than twelve miles of 
circuitous navigation. Some have supposed that 
this channel has been effected by the force or 
momentum of the enormous volume of water, 
but the depth of it and its unequal form in- 
duced me to consider it as the result of an 
earthquake. This passage is about three quar- 
ters of a mile in length, and is called the Neiv Cut, 
About forty miles lower we find a conside- 
rable hill, called Clnkasaiv Bluffs and three others 
in succession, under the same denomination, in 
the space of between fifty and sixty miles : 
they arc all on the eastern bank, in the state of 




is well 
irce be- 
;ribes in 
red it a 
lie land 
as sunk 
; rivers. 
May or 
i to the 

an two 
liles of 
3d that 
Dree or 
rm in- 
of an 
I quar- 
'w Cut, 
ion, in 
miles : 
tate of 

Tennessee, which on the river is contiguous to 
that of Kentucky on the north, and on the south 
to that of Mississippi. They belonged, as well 
as all the surrounding territories, to the Indians 
of that name. But the Americans are always 
afraid that they shall be in want of land ; though, 
as I have already mentioned, they do not cultivate 
a nineteenth part in twenty of what they already 
possess. They have likewise driven them away on 
the west of the Mississippi, at the Arkansaws, 
White river, &c. There is indeed reason to ap- 
prehend that the Americans, in consequence of 
thus hunting and driving the savages before them, 
may at length become savages themselves. I 
have met with some of that people in the forests 
and deserts, who were to be distinguished from 
Indians only by their language and the charac- 
teristic cleanliness of their persons and dress. 
These three Bluffs are as it were insulated 
points, which admirably interrupt and diversify 
the tiresome extent of flat territory. 

Between the mouth of Wolf river and the 
last of these Bluffs, there is pointed out to 
you a place called the city of Memphis. 
But there is nothing of the ancient, nor the 
progress of the modern. The place is an incon- 
siderable village, which the annual inundations 
threaten to destroy. It has however encreased 
twice its former size since it has belonged to 
the United States. 




\ S 

You will naturally ask, as 1 did myself, 
why do they not erect the village on the 
Bluff? When the inundation ceases, the ex- 
halation of miasma is absolutely mortal on the 
Bluff, whilst farther down it is only slightly 

About fifty-six miles lower we reach the mouth 
of the river St Francis, on the west. 1 am told 
that it is navigable for more than three hundred 
miles, that it ascends nearly in a parallel line 
with the Mississippi on the N.N.W., and that 
its sources are near those of the Merrimac, 
which discharges it, as we have already no- 
ticed, near St Louis. An iron mine has just 
been discovered between the sources of these 
two rivers, the ore of which is abundant and 
so excellent that it is malleable after the first 
fusion : it must certainly in this case be in- 
valuable. Near the mouth of the St Francis, 
also, there is a bluff, the only one existing (and 
a remarkable circumstance it is) on the right 
bank of the Mississippi, from Cape Girardeau to 
its mouths, a course of about thirteen hundred 

You will recollect, that we have already met 
with a river St Francis, above the Falls of St 
Peter. I imagine that M. la Salle, who was 
descending the Mississippi as Father Hannepin 
was ascending it, discovered this very river on 
the same day that the latter discovered that 




i myself, 

on the 

the ex- 

al on the 

' slightly 

lie mouth 
am told 
illel line 
and that 
Jady no- 
has just 
of these 
ant and 
the first 
! be in- 
ing (and 
lie right 
'deau to 

idy met 
s of St 
ho was 
iver on 
id that 

hi«:^her up, and that this circumstance led to the 
application of the same name to both. The 
mouth of this river, and the lower part of its 
course, are in the territory of the Arkansaws, 
which is bounded on the north by the Missouri 
state, on the south by that of Louisiana, on the 
west by the mountains of New Mexico, and on 
the east by the Mississippi. 

Eighty miles, or somewhat more, below the 
St Francis, White river enters the Mississippi, 
on the same side. This river is an apple of dis- 
cord among the American geographers. Some 
of them generously bestow on it a navigable 
course of twelve hundred miles, while others 
limit the whole extent of its flow within diree 
hundred. Some maps fix its principal sources 
in the direction of N.N.W. near its tributary. 
Black river, and others in that of W.S.W. : in 
short, it is mentioned by some with a tone of 
perfect knowledge and confidence, though they 
know if possible still less of it than myself, who 
acknowledge my perfect ignorance on the sub- 
ject. I have, however, seen the mouth of it. 
One thing that may be depended upon as cer- 
tain is, that about tvv^enty-five or thirty miles 
above its confluence with the Mississippi, it 
communicates with the Arkansaws by means of 
a Bayou, a term applied to express all the chan- 
nels which nature has formed, of communication 
or discharge, in the Lower Mississippi. 






Twriity miles iVom While river, the Arkaii- 
s;i\\> pours its tiihutary sdiani into (lie i^reat 

This river (lhi< Arkniisaws.) next, U) llie IVlis- 
soiiri, the Ohio, and (lie Hvd river, (which wc 
shall nieel with h)vver down,) seems lo he Iho 
lari^esl that Hows into the Mississippi. Opi- 
nions are nuieh divided resj)eetinj^" its sources 
and the hMi^th of its course. JliMice, you 
will easily conclude thiit nothing on tlu>sc 
subjects is positively known, yet all these 
regions luive been traversed by grand expedi- 
tions. The amiable Major Long idso made one, 
but his expedition, as I have been led to under- 
stand, was ccpially fruitless with the others, 
though he has contrived to s])in out two volumes 
upon ti>e subject. Hut whether the river de- 
scends from the Black Mountains, or Rocky 
Mountains, or (H]H)wais Mountains; whether it 
is navigable lor a space of one thousand n'uic 
luohlncl (Did c'li^htif, or two thousand miles, or its 
whole course is limited within fifteen hundred, 
it still is incontestable that its sources are in the 
direction of New Mexico, and that it is a very 
large river. It must be admitted, that this is 
rather a loose and vague account of its geo- 
graphy; but, having seen merely the mouth of 
it, 1 can tell you nothing more on the subject, 
unless indeed, like others, I were to substitute 
invention for facts, and betray your eontidencc. 


!» V 



'rwcDly or thirty iniUis lower vvc stopped in 
the, eveiiin^^ iit ;i siniill cabin which was inha- 
bited hy a liappy I'ainily, consistiii^^ of a. latlier 
and mother and tw(» chihiren. 'I'luy cid'jvate a 
littk' inai/{!, and have ii stock ofcatthi; and the 
lather caI( that, Injure his ihildnn hv- 
ODiic of (i^r, (tiid can p/o/xr/i/ (//a/. Ilnir p(il,cni(U 
nidnsion, ihvji will haw c.annd him at Uasl. JifUrn 
handrcd piastres each, hy <Mittin^^ wood for tho 
steani-boats, transportinjjf it to N(.'w ()rl(>anH 
in flats, (a species of covered rafts,) and by 
other speculations which that <,nand mart has 
laid open to tiie various and vast regions of the 
interior. lie added, that then, iis far as he could 
judge, he should have no farther need of their 
servi(;es, and they might leave him and go in 
|)eace, to form, like the beavers, a coh>Jiy of their 
own. These peopU; are )'ankct'.s. 

The next day we stop|)e(l at another small 
hut, consisting also of Yankees. An American 
gentleman, who had formerly been acc[uainted 
with them at another place two or three thou- 
sand miles distant, enctuired what adventure had 
induced them to abandon their first establish- 
ment. The head of the family replied, that it 
was to get out of the way of neighbours ; and 
that he was going also to leave his present situa- 
tion, as a family had just come and settled in his 
7/ciohhourhood, about sixty miles off. The gen- 
tleman asked liim where his wife was ; she was 



('(.lONKI, l»{)()N. 

I fi 

^ \ 

gone, he said, to see ii ncifj^hbour, one of hor 
loliitioiis, iiboul I'i^/ifi/ )ni/i\s iVtun Ijoiuc. \n{\ 
see tliereloiv, that the space which in Italy 
can supply us with hall' a tlo/.en sovereigns, 
is too conlined in the New World even for 
a single laniily ol' Americans. It seems as 
if the spirit of association liad, in that (piar- 
ter, scarcely any natural operation, or that the 
collisions of interest impel to si>paration. (yo- 
lonel Boon, who was one of the first that pene- 
trated into the vast deserts of Kentucky, to 
attack and liunt down the Indians and wihl 
])easts by which it was infested, had so com- 
l)lete an antii)athy to f/cig/t hour hoods, that for 
forty years he continued retreating' fu. m- and 
farther still into the interior in order to avoid 
them ; having proceeded from the eastern boun- 
daries of Kentucky, by a scries of removes and 
stations, till at last he reached the river Osagcs, 
a distance of thirteen hundred miles. A family 
with which I am acquainted, having settled a 
hundred miles in his rear, was just rousing him 
to one remove more, when death rendered him 
finally stationary. It is supposed, that had his 
life been spared but a short time longer, his 
eagerness to fly from approaching neighbours 
would have hurried him to the Pacific Ocean, 
whence probably some new neighbourhood would 
soon have driven him to the region of New 



Tlir ^'nzoo river flows fVoin tiio cfist and scpa- 
rntcs tlu' 'rcnncssec and tlic Mississippi states. It 
traverses a larjj^e |)art ol' Western (leorf^ia and 
the wliole space of territory Ix'tvveen the limits 
of that stale and the Mississippi river. All the 
countries throu^di which it passes were also a 
short time since the property of Indians. It is 
a])oiit one hundred and seventy miles from the 
river Arkansaws. 

Twelve miles farther down is a beautiful liill, 
called Walnut hill, which |)leasantly interruj)ts 
the monotony of these eternal marshes. 

We next, arrive at Natchez, the first place 
after St Louis which presents traces of an ad- 
vanced civilization. We must halt here for a 
moment, and this it is the more necessary to do 
so as, before we go any farther, it will be proper 
to take a general survey of what these countries 
have been, in order duly to appreciate what 
they at present are. I can however only shew 
you what they have been in reality and what 
they are. If you desire to see them in a micro- 
cosm and with a microscope, read the Natchez 
and Attala. 

The town of Natchez is built upon a hill 
which commands the eastern bank of the Mis- 
sissippi. It is about eight hundred and fifty miles 
from St Louis ; six hundred and seventy-one 
from the mouth of the Ohio ; two hundred and 
eighty-five from that of the Arkansaws, and one 






hundred from that of Yazoo, on the north. On 
the south it is about three hundred miles from 
New Orleans; one hundred and seventy-live 
from Bato7i Rouge, and seventy-three from the 
mouth of the Red river. 

I mentioned in a former letter, that the French 
were the first discoverers of the territory called 
Upper Louisiana. We are now in Lower Louis- 
iana, the discovery of which was also made by 
the French. 

M. la Salle, a man of firmness and enter- 
prise, was not discouraged by the ill success of 
his discoveries on the Illinois. His constancy 
was not only unabf ted, but even increased by 
his failure, and he proceeded with new attempts. 
After fixing an establishment at Kaskaskia, 
which he also confided to his faithful Achates 
the Chevalier Tonti, he, in 1678, went down the 
Mississippi as far as Natchez. He returned to 
Canada without exciting any suspicion of his 
secret, and thence sailed to France, where, after 
communicating to the court his recent disco- 
veries and his plans, he obtained a squadron, 
men, and all the necessary means, for a trans- 
atlantic expedition, and the formation of new 

He arrived in the gulf of Mexico about the 
year 1684, and passed in front of the mouths of 
the Mississippi, which he was actually in quest 
of; but, whether through obstinacy or ])rcsump- 





tion, he refused to attend to the opinion of those 
who pointed them out to him. When off St 
Bernard's bay, he became convinced of his mis- 
take. He was then desirous of going back, and 
getting into the proper course; but the com- 
mander of the squadron turned a deaf ear to all 
his representations, and carried his cruelty so 
far as to land him on that inhospitable shore, 
where this intrepid man, worthy of a better fate,' 
was murdered by the adventurers who had fol- 
lowed him. Such is the history of the first 

The mania for discoveries prevailed at that 
time among the French as well as among various 
other nations of Europe. Monarchs, instead of 
attending to the happiness of their subjects, in 
hopes of finding new means of gratifying their 
love of pomp and profligacy, ruined the Old 
World in order to ransack the regions of the 
New. M. d'Iberville went out next to La Salle 
and landed, in 1699, in the bay of Mobile, where 
he raised an ill-constructed fort, which he called 
Fort Dauphin, or Massacre island, so named 
from the number of human skeletons which he 
found there. 

He again reached the Mississippi, by an over- 
land passage, with a detachment of his men, 
and ascended the river as far as the place 
now called Natchez, which perhaps had been 
pomted out by M. la Salle ; and here he erected 




l» f r r \i 

a fort, which he called Fort Rosalie. Natchez 
was the name of the Indians who inhabited these 
territories, and who received the French with 

The same M. d'Ibervilie established another 
small colony at the mouth of the Perdido, which 
he named Biloxi ; but the unhealthiness of these 
places, and the distance of the establishments 
from each other, prevented their flourishing; and 
in the following year he returned to France. 

He was succeeded by IVI. Crosat, as farmer- 
general of the whole colony for ten years ; but, 
before the expiration of that time, he resigned, 
and succeeded in extricating himself from a pri- 
vilege that had already swallowed up his private 
fortune, though a very considerable one. 

The new settlers were totally averse to agri- 
culture, without which no colony can prosper. 
The petty commerce with the Indians could 
only supply them with a few furs, but furnished 
no bread; and while they were hunting after 
mines of gold and silver, which they never found, 
they lost the few resources they had possessed, 
and incurred diseases by which they were 
destroyed. Such are the causes of the little 
success with which all their enterprizes were 

In the year 1718, the famous Company of 
Law, or the Indies, took possession of Lower 
Louisiana. But, though M. Bienville was a 

;d these 
:h with 

), which 
of these 
ing; and 
i farmer- 
irs ; but, 
om a pri- 
is private 

e to agri- 
. prosper, 
ins could 
ting after 
ver found, 
hey were 
• the little 
rizes were 

3mpany of 

of Lower 

nWe was a 



able and enlightened governor, tlie vexatious and 
harassing conduct of the company to the indus- 
trious colonists, who had at length devoted 
their exertions to agriculture, the taxes with 
which they were loaded, and the monopolies 
which cut down the profits of their industry, 
the influx into the colony from the mother 
country of all the dregs of its population, and 
lastly, the hostilities of the Indians, whom the 
injustice and rapacity of officers appointed 
without judgment or feeling had unappeasably 
exasperated; all these circumstances combined 
to render still more wretched the establishments 
of Lower Louisiana, and compelled the govern- 
ment, in 1731, to recall the privileges it had 
granted to a company which was ruining both 
France and its colonies, and was also one of the 
remote causes of the revolution which that de- 
lightful country has recently experienced. 

The colony was not more prosperous from 
1731 to 17G3, at which epoch France ceded 
Lower Louisiana to Spain, with all the territory 
she possessed to the west of the Mississippi, 
giving up at the same time to England all that 
she held on the east of it, Canada included. 
Spain used it only to enrich a few favourites and 
governors ; and Natchez and New Orleans, with 
all the dependent territory, began to flourish 





■-. r 

only when, in 1803, the United States obtained 
them from Napoleon. 

The Americans do not perhaps individually 
possess more merit than the French or Spaniards, 
nor should 1 wish to indulge in those odious 
comparisons which are too often made both 
between nations and individuals; but I will 
assert and repeat, with the utmost publicity 
and confidence, that a liberal government is 
alike advantageous to the people and to the mo- 
narch, and that a despotic government is essen- 
tially and universally a bad one. In the first, 
the sovereign is assisted by the best of his 
subjects, who, having a common interest with 
himself, and, having no apprehensions from ad- 
dressing him in the language of truth, impart 
their advice to him with judgment and freedom. 
Whereas, in the other case, his will has no check, 
and he becomes always a mark and victim of 
the intrigues of favourites stimulated by their 
insatiable rapacity, and of ministers who end by 
making him their slave. 

I would by no means however assert that the 
government of the United States is without 
faults. Human nature does not admit of per- 
fection. But I do not hesitate to say, that I 
do not think there is another government in 
the world that has so few, not even the republic 
of St Marino itself, which consists simply of the 





ie both 

I will 
ment is 
the mo- 
s essen- 
:he first, 
t of his 
est with 
from ad- 
, impart 
o check, 
t^ictim of 
by their 
o end by 

: that the 
it of per- 
Y, that I 
iment in 
5 republic 
ply of the 

little town from which it derives its name, and 
the whole territory of which may be surveyed 
from its church-clock. 

I have mentioned, my dear Countess, the wars 
to which these Indians were provoked by the 
conduct of a few Frenchmen : it may not per- 
haps be injudicious or unentertaining for a few 
moments to direct your attention to thom. 

The Natchez being those who had felt with 
most severity the vexations and oppressions 
inflicted on them by the commander of Fort 
Rosalie, and some other oihcers as unprincipled 
and unfeeling as himself, resolved to execute 
upon them summary vengeance. Too weak 
to act openly, they conspired with all the other 
Indian nations to effect a general massacre of 
their oppressors. As they had no almanack 
by which to fix upon the important day, they 
decided that each tribe should set up in its en- 
campment fifteen stakes on the very day on 
which their solemn determination was agreed to, 
and that one of these should be remold every 
day, the last that remained being to be consi- 
dered as the signal for massacre. In conse- 
quence of this arrangement, on the appointed 
day, and almost at the same hour, a considerable 
number of Frenchmen were massacred at Fort 
Rosalie, on the Yazoo, and in other places. But, 
those who survived avenged the destruction of 




1 1 

their countrymen by the ahnost total destruc- 
tion of the Natchez tribe ; and the town of Nat- 
chez has been erected, and now flourishes, on the 
very spot where tliese Indians once had their 
principal encampment, and where the French 
afterwards built Fort Rosalie ; and the woods, 
where that unfortunate tribe hunted the doe and 
the roebuck, are now plains and hills abounding 
in file growth of cotton. 

The town is a really beautiful one, and its 
environs contain a great number of handsome 
country-seats, where the planters for many years 
made and enjoyed ample fortunes, though, by 
the depreciation of cotton, they are now in a 
state of rapid impuvcrishmen'. 

In the present year the yellow fever has 
committed dreadful ravages. Nearly four 
hundred persons have died, and the emaciated 
and pallid faces that met my eye in every street, 
plainly indicated that numbers of the living had 
narrowly escaped. Among the dead were four 

Large three-masted vessels come up to this 
place, although at more than four hundred miles 
distance from the sea, and would ascend still 
higher were they certain of obtaining cargoes. 
It is in the state of Mississippi ; and its popu- 
lation, previously to the late ravages of the fever, 
amounted to about five thousand. 

n .i 




The farther we proceed downward, the houses 
on the river's banks become more numerous : 
cotton and maize are the principal articles of 
cultivation there. 

The mouth of Red river, as I have already 
mentioned, is seventy-three miles below Nat- 
chez. It presents a noble view on the west. 
This river flows through a country exceedingly 
rich in cotton, the fineness and length of whose 
fibre render it nearly equal to that of Georgia. 

The first establishment formed there by the 
French, was under the government of M. dlber- 
ville, in the Natchitoches. This colony was 
the most flourishing of the whole, on account of 
its superior government. It was under the di- 
rection of M. St Denis ; an officer possessing at 
once courage and wisdom, who by his prudent 
management completely conciliated the aftec- 
tions of the Indians, and was thereby enabled to 
extend its commerce into New Mexico, notwith- 
standing the vigilant jealousy of the Spaniards. 
But all the establishments of Red river, since 
the country has come into the possession of the 
Americans, have made astonishing advances. 
The town of Owachitta has already a popula- 
tion of almost three thousand ; Natchitoches of 
more than eight thousand; Alexandria, or the 
Rapids, of about seven thousand. These towns 
are all comprised within the state of Louisiana, 






the capital of which, as I before stated, is New 
Orleans. Steam-boats pass up to all these 
establishments without the slightest obstacle. 

This river is a very considerable one, and its 
course of great extent, but its sources are en- 
tirely unknown. The persons composing a cer- 
tain e.vpedition, however, thought they had dis- 
covered them. When descending some river, 
they rather prematurely settled the latitudes and 
longitudes of Red river, the general direction 
of its course, and its various windings; they 
described the beauties of its banks, and even 
saw some red sand at the bottom of its bed. At 
its mouth, the gentlemen of the expedition con- 
ceived themselves to be of course on the Missis- 
sippi, whilst they were in fact in the Arkansaws ; 
and the river which they had just descended 
was the Canadian, which flows from the south- 
west to the north-east, whereas Red river runs 
from north-west to south east. I was informed of 
this blunder by an officer who was with Major 
Long in the same expedition, and who accompa- 
nied us in the steam-boat : he gave the account 
very circumstantially and confidently, and his 
statement was confirmed by the captain of the 
steam-boat and several passengers, who appeared 
well acquainted with all the particulars. 

Red river is the last tributary stream to the 
Mississippi, as Heron river, near the Julian 




sources, (agreeably to what I mentioned in a 
former letter,) is the first. 

Below Red river, the Mississippi may be 
said to become tributary itself, for all the issues 
found along its banks, and which are called 
Bai/oiLV, are, properly speaking, only vents or 
passes, whl^h Ic has formed for itself, to carry off 
its waters, in periods of overflow, into the sea. 
Thus, on the right, across the low lands which 
were formerly inhabited by tribes of Indians, 
and which still retain the names of Opeloussas, 
Attakapas, Alchafalaya, it discharges itself into 
a succession of lakes communicating with the 
sea on the side of St Bernard's bay, and some 
of the mouths of the Sabine. On the left it 
flows through lakes Pontchar train, Maurepas, 
and Borgne, towards Beloxi and Mobile. 

The river Sabine separates Louisiana from 
Texas, on the west, the territory disputed be- 
tween Mexico and the United States, and where 
the colony, or expedition, under the direction of 
General Lallemand met with such misfortunes. 
This province ought to belong to the United 
States, for the Rio del Norte, which bounds it 
on the west, seems to have been appointed by 
nature as the limit on that side to New Mexico. 
We now return to the Bayowv. 

The Louisianians in these BaiioiLV ought parti- 






t v 

cularly to adniire tlie order of Providence ; for, 
without the expedient it has thus brought into 
operation, the two banks of the river, from Red 
river even below New Orleans, would be con- 
stantly inundated, or, more accurately speaking, 
would no longer exist, and New Orleans itself 
would bt annihilated. All the immense regions 
which extend from Natchez, as high up as New 
Madrid, are flooded almost every year by the Mis- 
sissippi, which sometimes rises fifty feet above 
its usual level, while at New Orleans it rarely 
rises beyond thirteen, and that city is never inun- 
dated. Such is the effect of these tutelm'y BajjoiLV, 

The articles cultivated in these plantations 
are sugar, cotton, maize, and rice. Indigo com- 
pletely degenerated there, and is no longer 
grown : the land is too moist and too hot for 

After making these general observations, we 
shall now return to our regular course. 

Baton Rouge is a pleasant little town, situated 
on a small eminence, which is the last to be found 
on the Mississippi. It commands the river, and 
affords an extensive and admirable view of both 
sides of it. 

The government of the United States is erect- 
ing in this place extensive barracks ; for the 
purpose perhaps of making it a depot for troops 

1 \ 

lice; for, 
ight into 
rom Red 

be con- 
ms itself 
3 regions 

as New 
2t above 
it rarely 

er inun- 
go com- 

hot for 

Dns, we 

)e found 
'er, and 
of both 

s erect- 
for the 
' troops 





destined to repel any attacks that may be made 
on a place so important as New Orleans. 

Fourteen miles lower down, the ManchacBmfoa 
presents a fine situation for opening, by means 
of a canal of no great length, a convenient and 
very useful navigation from the Missouri to lake 
Pontchartrain, and thus communicating with the 
Mobile, Pensacola, &c. 

I pointed out to you the first island of the 
Mississippi, in the midst of the LMc Falls 
above Sandy lake ; I must now notice its last. 
It is thirty miles below the Bayou iManchac, 
and might with great propriety have been called 
by the distinguished name of d'Iberville, who 
was the first European that ascended this part 
of the Mississippi. Eleven miles from this 
island is Donaldson, a small town situated on the 
Bayou la Fourche, which leads to the Attakapas, 
Opeloussas, and various other regions. It is 
seventy-five miles from New Orleans. The 
space between these two places may be consi- 
dered as one continued town, consisting of the 
habitations of planters. While passing over the 
distance, I was reminded of the Persian prince, 
who, when accompanying the emperor Constan- 
tius towards Rome, thought he was entering that 
city while yet fifty miles without its walls, at 
the Augustan bridge near Fescennia. I saw in 
it likewise some resemblance to those delicious 





t> \ 

tracts on the banks of the Brcnta, between 
Padua and Venice, which the wealtli and good 
taste of the Venetians have formed into an 
earthly paradise. 

When Law's Conipiny of the Indies took pos- 
session of Louisiana, the seat of •^ovenniiont was 
still at Fort Dauphine ; but, a dreadful tempest 
having- blocked up Mobile bay with sand, it was 
transferred by governor Bienville to the place 
where New Orleans now stands ; a name be- 
stowed upon it to remind posterity of the re- 
gency and the wisdom of Philip of Orleans. I 
consider the date of this city, therefore, to be 
1718 or 19. The establishment of Biloxi, also, 
was afterwards transferred to it; that place being 
both barren and unhealthy ; but this accession 
had no effect in promoting the prosperity of the 
new city. It contmued to languish while under 
the Spanish domination ; and it is only owing to 
its being placed under the government of a na- 
tion whose rulers, instead of being the people's 
tyrants, are merely the depositaries of their 
will — it is only owing to its freedom from rU 
vexatious restrictions on its industry, commerce, 
and prosperity, from capricious abuses of power, 
profligate monopolies, and selfish corporations, — 
that this city has risen to the astonishing pros- 
perity which distinguishes it at the present mo- 




It is built on the left bank of tiic river, in the 
form of a crescent, in an island about one hun- 
dred and fifty miles in circumference, formed by 
the Mississippi, Haijou A/d/ichac, and lakes 
Maurepas and Pontchartrain. 

The new buildings, which are nearly all of 
brick, present a striking contrast to the old ones, 
which were built of wood. Jt is inhabited in a 
great measure by foreigners, and Creoles of 
French extraction, as well as Americans who 
are attracted thither by its facilities for com- 
merce, and of course for acquiring wealth. It 
is more brilliant than any other American city 
that I have seen. It contains about forty-five 
thousand inhabitants ; a ])rodigious population 
for a place which may be said to have just 
emerged from a swamp, and where the yellow 
fever and the natural insalubrity of the climate 
every year effect deplorable ravages. 

A stranger who entered it by night would 
imagine himself arrived at some grand capital ; 
for the streets are well lighted with reflecting 
lamps, and the busy agitation and rapid move- 
ment of carriages, in connection with that cir- 
cumstance, easily lead to such a conclusion. 

It is astonishing that a place which may be 
said to be only just stepping out of its infancy, 
should already exhibit, in the department of 




! P 

amusements, a number of those attractions which 
are displayed in the capitals of Europe. Horse- 
races, dramatic representations, concerts, balls, 
and gaming academics of every description, are 
here to be met with. Within its comparatively 
small compass there are not fewer than six 
public gaming houses, — more in fact than exist 
in Paris. I acknowledge that I did not ex- 
pect to find this passion in such intense opera- 
lion among a commercial, active, and republican 
people ; I supposed it confined to courts, dissi- 
pation, and idleness. The Lacedemonians looked 
upon gaming with such horror, that Chilon, when 
sent to conclude a treaty of alliance with the 
Corinthians, was so indignant at finding them 
absorbed by this practice, that he almost imme- 
diately left them, with the rebuke, " that it 
would tarnish the glory of Lacedemon to ally 
itself with a nation of gamblers." So much has 
been written -^n the fatal consequences of this 
habit, that nothing new is to be advanced on 
the subject ; and we can only repeat what the 
greatest men have said before us both in ancient 
and modern times. Tacitus remarks, that such 
is the dominion of this passion over a man com- 
pletely addicted to it, that the Germans often 
finished by staking themselves, that is, by 
gambling away their freedom and their persons. 




IS which 
is, balls, 
ion, are 
han six 
an exist 
not ex- 
2 opera- 
s, dissi- 
s looked 
n, when 
^^ith the 
ig them 
t imme- 
that it 
to ally 
uch has 
1 of this 
iced on 
diat the 
lat such 
m com- 
is often 
is, by 

It IS difficult to explain this attachment to so 
dangerous a diversion in a place abounding with 
so many other means of dissipation. 

Besides the attractions of private societies, 
public amusements are extremely frequent. 

Two theatres furnish high gratification both to 
the eye and ear, and the actors who perform there 
would not be despised even in Europe : I must 
add that, during my repeated attendances, I 
have observed nothing of those dirty buffoone- 
ries and obscene equivoques which, among 
nations pretending to greater refinement, fre^ 
quently put decency and modesty to the blush. 
The American theatre, though smaller, is 
more regular in its form than the French ; and 
both are very convenient, and most judiciously 
adapted, though the architects never perhaps 
studied Vitruvius or Bramante. 

The French theatre has accessory rooms and 
offices, such as are prob.oly not to be met with 
m any provincial theatre in Europe ; particu- 
larly a large room, where subscription, dress, 
and masked balls are given, which would rival 
those exhibited in our capitals ; where the beau- 
tiful Creoles fascinate and dazzle under the 
forms of the Graces, and where luxury and de- 
corum are in happy combination. Louisiana is 
indebted for this elegant establishment to Mr 
Davis, who has sacrificed to it a great part of 


FRENCH theatre; 

; , ,' 

.), H 


his fortune. There is also a Spanish theatre — 
which is, indeed, in every sense Spanish. 

The French theatre, to the precision and fas- 
cination of the machinery introduced upon the 
stage, adds decorations of the most superb de- 
scription and ahiiost marvellous eflect. M. Fog- 
liardi, who is the painter, has obtained a well- 
merited reputation, and is thoroughly acquainted 
with the true theory of perspective. This ex- 
cellent artist would need nothing but to have 
been the pupil of a Gonzaga or a Cagliari, to 
acquire celebrity even in Europe. He distri- 
butes objects with such discrimination, brings 
them out with such distinctness and breadth 
displays such admirable adaptation of light and 
shade, that the scene, small as it is in itself, by 
a sort of magic power becomes extended and 
spacious, and the eye and imagination of the 
spectator see almost with the conviction of rea- 
lity the very spot where the action of the piece 
is supposed to pass. 

Though a great admirer of the ancients, I 
avail myself of every opportunity, consistently 
with my reverence for our all-staunch antiqua- 
ries, of expressing my just admiration of the 
moderns. Though the ancients were our masters 
in almost all the arts, they could not possibly 
contest with the moderns the glory of having 
carried to perfection the science of perspective. 


Albert Durer and Pietro del Borgo may be con- 
sidered as its inventors. Titian, Dominichino, 
and Balthazar Peruzzi, were eminent masters, 
who left successors still more eminent than 
themselves, particularly in the French and 
Flemish schools ; and at present, Granet, Bassi, 
Werstapen, and various others, do honour to the 
age by their skill in this delightful and almost 
miraculous art, which on the stage has been 
carried nearly to perfection. We must, how- 
ever, while circumscribing the merits of the 
ancient painters, beware of adopting the opinion 
of Perault, in denying them any knowledge 
of perspective whatever. The discovery of the 
ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum must, I ima- 
gine, have contributed to render his presumptu- 
ous assertions on this subject still more ridiculous 
than they were before. 

To superior talents for what may be called 
scenographij, M. Fogliardi unites those of design; 
of that art, the benefits and wonders of which 
cannot be too highly eulogized, and which ought 
to be pursued by our youth with almost idola- 
trous attachment. 

Man is only the interpreter of nature ; but 
the mere hand of nature, powerful, indefatiga- 
ble, and plastic as it is, is sufficient only iov a 
few effects. A servile imitation of the external 
appearances of nature never produces grand re- 



i iii ' 

i V' 



suits. It is only by the aid of that genius with 
which she inspires her favoured votaries, that 
genius which is her most precious gift, and by 
those rules which she has permitted it to invent 
for its guidance, that she may be said to re-pro- 
duce herself under tlie aspect of a nature still 
more beautiful and sublime ; and the exercise 
of this genius and of these rules is the offspring 
of the great art of design. Nature creates 
forms, design perfects them, and, like a Pro- 
metheus, animates them with a spirit which 
makes them appear to the most ignorant and 
stupid observer possessed of all the vigour and 
truth of reality. Without the aid of the ge- 
nius of design, nature could not have produced 
the supreme and almost divine beauty of the 
virgins of Raphael and Sasseferrato, and of 
the angels of Corregio and Guido Reni ; the 
voluptuous attractions in the works of Albano, 
or the speaking expression of the figures of 
Giotto and Cimabue. 

It is design which introduces us to the mys- 
teries (klle trc Artl Sorelle, of the three sisters so 
important and indispensable to the wants of 
luxury which man has created for himself — 
architecture, sculpture, and painting ; and it is 
by these three arts that civilized man may be 
considered as distinguished from the savage. 
They are the most enduring depositaries both of 





US with 
es, that 

and by 
o invent 

ure still 
; creates 
; a Pro- 
it which 
rant and 
50 ur and 
' the ge- 
y of the 
, and of 
eni ; the 
»f Albano, 
figures of 

the mys- 

sisters so 

wants of 

himself — 

; and it is 

m may be 

le savage. 

ies both of 

his virtues and infirmities. History herself de- 
rives from this source her most correct and her 
most impressive lessons. I have seen her my- 
self in Latium, in Magna Grecia, and elsewhere, 
resorting to the venerable monuments of anti- 
quity to find out what had previously escaped 
all her researches, or to correct errors which she 
had been led into by the conjectures of the 
learned. In short, to the art of design, the three 
kingdoms of nature owe their highest advances. 
M. Fogliardi, who was the first to open an 
academy in this place for the promotion of these 
objects, deserves both eulogium and encourage- 
ment, and I doubt not that he will obtain them. 
For, how insignificant and worthless among an 
enlightened people must that man appear, who 
makes no eflbrt and feels no wish to co-operate 
in the means which revive the image of a be- 
loved friend, or transmit to posterity the me- 
mory of transcendant minds and beneficent 
citizens? The government, to whom the na- 
tion confides the charge of superintending tiie 
progress of its civilization, and who are able 
justly to appreciate the virtuous efforts which 
produced this institution, will unquestionably 
give it their highest support. 

I have visited, with great pleasure, 'he esta- 
blishment of this distinguished artist and most 
excellent man ; but I have seen, what is to be 

vol.. ir. yj ^i 




seen also in many of our own countrymen — I 
have observed the young people who attend 
him too eager to free themselves from the re- 
straint of rules founded on experience, and from 
long received theories. A house is never be- 
gun to be built at the roof; but always at the 
foundation. It is impossible ever to paint or 
sculpture an entire human figure without previ- 
ously becoming acquainted with the particular 
parts. It is impossible to represent a landscape 
in due perspective without knowing the forms 
which ought to be given to trees, and the place 
appropriate to them in the picture : without 
being acquainted with the peculiar motion, 
shape, and character of animals, intended to con- 
stitute figures in it ; and without attending to 
the principles which regulate distribution and 
grouping. No painter or sculptor will ever be 
able to adjust the drapery to a figure before he 
has studied it in its naked state ; as an architect 
will never be able to complete a Corinthian co- 
lumn without being well acquainted with the 
rules of the Doric and Ionic ; for, otherwise, the 
results would be absolute monsters, like the 
edifices proceeding from the extravagant pencil 
of our countryman Borromini ; who, in conse- 
quence of endeavouring to innovate on archi- 
tecture, became its Attila, completely bar- 
barising it. 


ymen — I 
) attend 

I the re- 
and from 
lever be- 
ys at the 

paint or 
Hit previ- 
and scape 
-he forms 
the place 
[• motion, 
ed to con- 
ending to 
ution and 

II ever be 
before he 

1 architect 
nthian co- 
. with the 
Twise, the 
, like the 
^ant pencil 
in conse- 
on archi- 
etely bar- 



But, for the present, let us leave New Or- 
leans, and follow the course of the river to its 

Between five and six miles lower down, l 
must stop to show you the scene on which the 
Americans triumphed over the English in the 
celebrated battle, called the Battle of New Or- 
leans. It is on the left bank of the Mississippi, 
and between the plantations of Rodriguez and 

The Americans have, no doubt, talked about 
It a great deal, but it certainly appears that they 
were well justified in doing so ; for, though they 
were nearly all militia, not more than four or 
five thousand strong, and collected in haste, yet, 
for fifteen days successively, they repulsed, and 
on the sixteenth completely beat and drove back, 
a force of about twelve thousand, commanded 
by one of Wellington's celebrated generals, Ge- 
neral Pakenham, who seemed to despise the 
enemy he came to fight, but who paid for his 
audacity with his life. 

This battle procured a well-merited fame for 
General Jackson. He displayed in the critical 
conjuncture in which he was placed, courage, 
skill, and firmness, which enabled him to over- 
come, in the first place, obstacles which ap- 
peared to be wantonly thrown in his way to 
thwart and irritate him, and afterwards the 


enemy in the field. lie rescued Louisiana from 
the English yoke. 

The gratitude of his fellow-citizens was mani- 
fested to the triumphant commander in a thou- 
sand different ways. He was carried in triumph 
through the public streets, and crowned in the 
theatre amidst the applauses of a crowded audi- 
ence absolutely intoxicated with joy and victory. 
It is a remarkable circumstance that, at the 
very time when he was thus hailed by the 
people as their liberator, one of the judges sen- 
tenced him to a fine of a thousand piastres for a 
breach of the laws ; and what adds to his glory 
is, that he paid it, like a citizen who bent in due 
submission to the tribunals of his country when 
its safety was no longer in danger, and no 
longer, therefore, required the application of 
martial law, which he had considered it neces- 
sary to enforce with vigour, in circumstances 
so highly critical, that half-measures could have 
only tended to produce greater anarchy. 

The firmness of the zealous magistrate who 
condemned the victorious general would pro- 
bably have excited more admiration, if by so 
doing he had not in fact been avenging an insult 
committed against his own person and autho- 
rity. It is a serious fault, which can never long 
continue under a wise and liberal constitution, 
to permit a magistrate to be at once party and 

¥ iM 


la from 

s mani- 
1 thou- 

in the 
id audi- 

at the 
by the 
>-es sen- 
es for a 
is glory 
t in due 
-y when 
and no 
ation of 
t neces- 
lid have 

ate who 
Lild pro- 
if by so 
an insult 
i autho- 
jver long 
arty and 



judge, and more particularly when the object in 
view is to avenge with the arm of the hnpam/ji,! 
law a personal offence or insult, which stimu- 
lates our passions more powerfully even than 
interest, strong as it is universally admitted 
to be. It is one of those cases which are in- 
cluded in the judicious maxim of the ancients, 
" Jiic/ich incompetcmh' fact inn, pro mhpio ct millo 
habemlum cstr General Jackson, in the course 
of events and transactions which preceded the 
battle, had committed this judge to prison, for 
having granted a Habeas Corpus to a member 
of the legislature who had opposed some of his 
measures, from an idea that they were arbi- 

The valour of the general was admirably se- 
conded by that of the troops, who consisted 
principally of the inhabitants of Tennessee and 

The ladies of New Orleans on this occasion 
distinguished themselves by their humanity as 
much as their brothers and husbands did by their 
valour. I cannot help thinking that these ami- 
able Creoles contributed not a little to the vic- 
tory ; for the idea of being enabled, like another 
Medorus, to become the object of the attentions 
and compassion of some lovely Angelica, might 
add greatly to the patriotism and bravery of the 

.1 J...— 



' t t 

',' ( / 

People limy say wlmt they j)lease, my dear 
C'ountess, but women constitute tlie ^land sjiring 
by whicli men are influenced. Y'ou may ])er- 
ceive it in my own case. 1 write long letters 
to you, though I never before wrote any but 
short ones ; and the pleasure I find in it arises 
from the impulse to display before you, to the 
best of my ability, whatever incidents or views 
deeply impressed my own senses, atfections, 
or imagination. Were I merely to attempt to 
write to beings of the hard and rocky nature of 
that sex in whom I never found anything but 
malignity — who have already inflicted on me 
so much misery, and who, as you well know, 
are still inflicting it, and that purely from the 
pleasure of giving pain and doing harm — both 
my mind and pen would recoil with disgust. 
Let us return, however, to our subject from this 

For the period of more than a year before this 
battle, General Jackson had proceeded on in a 
steady course of victory. He had completely 
defeated the Creeks, whom the English, assisted 
by the Spaniards of the Floridas, had excited 
against the Americans from the beginning of the 
war. They are a nation of Indians, of great 
ferocity, and were at that time very numerous, 
residing in the territory whicli separates the 
states of Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi, 

y dear 

y per- 


jy but 


to the 



mpt to 

iture of 

ng but 

on me 


om the 

I — l)oth 


oni this 

ore this 
on in a 
g of the 
of great 
ites the 


from the Floridas. They arc now almost en- 
tirely destroyed— the natural fate of those who 
suffer themselves, like despicable satellites, to 
be basely worked upon by venahty and in- 
trigues. The Spaniards themselves soon began 
to repent their having promoted the projects of 
the English, as they thus furnl^^hed the Ameri- 
cans with a plausible pretext for taking posses- 
sion of the Floridas, which they luive since 
obtained by a treaty concluded between the 
United States and the Cortes. 

A little lower than the field of battle com- 
mences the Lazaretto, which has nothing in com- 
mon with the sanitary establishments of Europe 
but the name. The chief object of this pre- 
tended Lazaretto is to prevent the introduction 
of the yellow fever, which was suj^posed to have 
been imported to New Orleans from the island 
of Cuba. The Spaniards of that island made 
reprisals, and obliged the vessels that arrived 
from New Orleans to perform quarantine. I 
conclude from these circumstances that the yel- 
low fever is indigenous to both countries. 

Twelve miles farther, where the Mississippi 
makes a considerable bend, is the place they 
called English Turn ; a name applied to it from 
the circumstance of the English, on arriving in 
the beginning of the last century at this spot 
with a view to ascend and examine the Missis- 


I i 

', s' 


i'llK iMOlTllS OF rut AilSSlSbll'l'l. 

sippi, turninij^ back, on finding tliat they !iad 
bt'cn anticipated by the French. 

At Phupieniine bay, on the left, is Fort St 
IMiibp, whicli serves to protect that pass to the 
sea. Only small vessels however are capable of 
navigating it. It is seventy miles from New 

Eighteen miles farther, on the right, there is 
another grand passage to the sea, which is called 
Soutli-u'CfitPass, and another, three miles farther, 
called South Pass ; six miles beyond is the g»* it 
pass, also on the right, called South-vast Pass 
and Main Pass; and, almost immediately be- 
yond, two others, one of which, called Otter 
Pass, is on the north-east; the other, to the 
north-west, has no name. These are all the 
different passages which constitute the mouths 
of the great river Mississipjii, the sources of 
which you have seen close to lake Julia, and 
the navigation of which we have now com- 
pleted through its whole course of about three 
thousand and two hundred miles. 

1 observed to you, my dear Countess, that the 
Mississippi was perhaps the first river in the 
world : nov/, however, there is no perhaps in the 
case. I declare, and will maintain it to be so, 
without fear of contradiction. In order to convince 
you of this, it is necessary that we should now 
return to its sources. Donot, however, be alarmed . 

ley had 

Fort St 
;s to the 
ipable of 

)m New 

there is 
is called 
s farther, 
the g"*" it 
vast l^ass 
itely be- 
led Otter 
r, to the 
e all the 
,e mouths 
Diirces of 
ulia, and 
ow com- 
lout three 

s, that the 
ver in the 
)aps in the 
; to be so, 
o convince 
tiould now 
)e alarmed . 


THE IIUST KIVEU Ol' Till. U'OaLD. ,037 

Vou will Hnd that our voya^^c up will be mucli 

shorter tiiaii that we have just fmished (lownwurd. 
Vou have seen that the Mississippi, by its 
various hmiour or passes on both sides, commu- 
nicates with all the hinds of Louisiana, with an 
infinite number of lakes, and with the sea. 

By Red river, it communicates with New 

By the Yazoo, it traverses all those re;,nons 
which are found on the limits of the Tennessee 
and Mississippi states ; and, as the Yazoo is navi- 
ga])le up to its sources, in Georgia, it may com- 
municate, by means of some portage, with rivers 
that fall into the Atlantic Ocean. The sources 
of Tombccbee are also near those of the Yazoo, 
and consequently an easy communication may 
be effected with the Alabama and the lands sur- 
rounding the bay of the Mobile, into which the 
Tombccbee discharges itself. 

By means of the Arkansaws, it serves as an 
inlet to the establishments formed in the west 
territory of that name ; and, as it is presumed 
that the sources of the Arkansaws are almost 
contigumis to those of the Colorado, it follows 
that, by means of a portage, the Mississippi could 
communicate with the gulph of California. 

By White river and the 8t Francis, it pene- 
trates a great way into regions highly fertile 
and rich in mines. 


■ r» liKi 


IKl lU: TAIJiKS IX) nil-; iMISSlSMlMM 


^' i 

. f- 

You Ir.ivo soon, willi what inimonso ooiin- 
tiios, with wlrat miniorous slalos, it coniniii- 
nicatos by moans of tlio Ohio, which is Iho lifo 
and soni olllio wostorn statos, llhnois, Indiana, 
Ohio, Kontnoky, TcMniossoo, of wostcrn Penn- 
sylvania and Viri;inia. But, should Iho canals 
which arc projoctod l)o coniplotod, other com- 
niunications would n\sult thr more important. 
The iMononnahola would join tlie Polowmac 
wliich flows throunh C'hcsapeak bay into the 
Atlantic. Tlic Alleghany would join lake Erie, 
and consequently, by the new canal of Ikift'alo, 
it would comnnmicalo with New York, and by 
the St T/awrence with the whole of Canada and 
the TVorthorn Atlantic; with all the lakes, or the 
Canadian sea Ibrmod by the lakes St C'lair, 
Huron, IMichigan, Superior, and otliors. These 
projects would also tend to join the Muskingum, 
the Miami, and the Wabash, to lake J^^rie. We 
now resume our course. 

By means of the river Kaskaskia, it penetrates 
far into the lands known by the name of the 
American Bottom, which are considered as the 
most fertile in America, and through which some 
l)retend that the Mississippi formerly flowed. 

The IMarimak conveys down to it the lead and 
iron supplied by its mines. 

The Missouri, by its southern and western 
sources, would establish the communication of 


\hv life 
I l*enn- 

jr foni- 


iito the 
LC Erie, 
and by 
ad a and 
;, or the 
t Clair, 
ie. We 

e of the 
:1 as the 
ich some 
lead and 

cation of 

the Mississippi with the rivers Lewis and (Mark, 
which run into the (Columbia, and of course 
with tlie Pacihc Ocean. 

The Illinois would enable it to communicate, 
by means of a small canal (which is in contem- 
plation,) with the river ("ikago, which discharges 
itself into lake Michij^an. 

Vou have seen the rivers Le Moinc, Yawoha, 
Jiocky, I' ever, Turkey, Ike. bcarini^ large boats 
on their streams far into the interior. 

The Owiskonsing, another tributary to the 
Mississippi, conmiunicates also with lake Mi- 
chigan through a portage at the Poxes river. 

The river Cypowais, near lake Pepin, com- 
municates by means of a [)ortagc with the 
Menomeni, and conserpiently with lake Su- 

The St (*roix also communicates with it, by a 
short poitage from its sources to the river Bois- 

You have already seen the direction of the 
course of the St Peter. 

Tlie rivers Brandy and St Francis, communi- 
(.aie, liy means of the llwusurd Lakes whence 
they issue, with other rivers v^'hich also pour 
themselves into lake Superior. 

The Raven's plume, by means of Leaf river, 
which flows into it near ts sources, communi- 
cates with Otter Tail lake, from which issues 





i I 

the river of that name, which the Enghsh have 
named also Red river and which falls into Hud- 
son's bay. 

You recollect, that Sandy river, which falls 
into the Mississippi, communicates likewise by 
a short portage, and by the rivers Savannah and 
St Louis, with the end of lake Superior, C-!^d 
that by means of Pines, Willowy and Bloody 
rivers, the Mississippi communicates with im- 
mense regions inhabited by Indians. 

At the end of the second lake Winipeg, on 
the north of it, it communicates by a short por- 
tage with Oak river, which falls into Rainy 
river, by which we may descend both to Hud- 
son's bay, by lake Wood, and to the Atlantic 
Ocean by Rainy lake, lake Superior, &c. 

Vou liave seen that, from Red Cedar lake, 
these Indian territories may be traversed on 
the west as far as Bitch lake. 

Also, that the Julian sources are almost conti- 
guous to those of Bloody river, and that conse- 
quently the Gulfof Mexico communicates at three 
different points with the Frozen Sea, across the 
immense space of about four thousand five hun- 
dred miles; that is, by means of the Raven's 
plume, lake Winipeg, and the Julian sources. 

You recollect that a canoe can ascend as far 
as the sources of the river, and a large boat 
within three miles of them. 



[\ have 
► llud- 

h falls 
'ise by 
ah and 

ith im- 




ort por- 
) Rainy 
to Ilud- 

lav lake, 
rscd on 

st conti- 
it three 
ross the 
five hun- 
id as far 
[•ge boat 



That a river, of such immense extent, presents 
no other obstacles to its navigation than three 
short portages at the falls of 8t Antony, the great 
rapids, and the little falls. 

That a steam -boat has gone up as far as Fort 
St Peter, and that it might pass up the river St 
Peter as high as about sixty miles. 

You have seen that the steam-boats run over, 
in every sense, the whole valley of the Ohio, and 
penetrate even into the interior of the states 
watered by that river; that they traverse the 
Arkansaws territory, Red river, the haijouA', &c. 

That large three-masted vessels may ascend 
this great river more than four hundred miles 
from its mouths. 

We have traversed together on its stream one 
of the most extensive and beautiful vallies, and 
perhaps also the most fertile, in the world, and 
we have noticed innumerable tiibutary rivers 
flowing into it as into a common centre prepared 
for them by nature. 

You liave seen that, by facilitating commerce, 
that inexhaustible source of wealth, it imparts 
occupation and life to a world. 

Finally, you have admired with me its beauty, 
its opulent mines, its almost always smooth and 
tranquil course, and the wisdom of nature in its 
hai/oitr or passes. 

Judge now whether another such river can be 





f M 

found on the globe which thus communicates 
with every sea and at various points, which 
combines so many wonders with such great 
utility, which surveys more than one hundred 
steam -boats gliding over its waters, with an 
infinite number of other vessels freiofhted with 
the productions and manufacture of both worlds, 
and to which futurity promises such brilliant 
destinies. Judge whether the Mississippi be 
not the first river in the world ! 

The Amazon, and the la Plata, may exceed 
the Mississippi in the volume of their waters; 
but in all other respects, far more important, 
they cannot be compared with it ; and what 
confers on the latter a decided superiority is, 
that along the whole extent of its banks man 
can breath the air of liberty, and industry meets 
with no restriction. 

I cannot, and indeed ought not, to quit New 
Orleans without mentioning to you Father An- 
thony. He is a venerable Spanish capuchin, 
who for eight and forty years has devoted his 
life to impaiting the consolations of faith to this 
population, v/itli simplicity, and without either 
fanaticism or intolerance. As he could never 
bring himself to say that it was midnight at mid- 
day, or midday at midnight, he has not been 
made a bishop ; but he is not, on that account, 
less regarded as the patriarch, the father of the 

, which 
h great 
with an 
ted with 
1 worlds, 
sippi be 

J exceed 
nd what 
iority is, 
inks man 
try meets 

\\\\i New 
ither An- 
voted his 
th to this 
)ut either 
lid never 
ht at mid- 
not been 
ler of the 


Catholic religion in this city, and the founder of 
all its churches ; and he is, by the inhabitants 
in general, highly esteemed and beloved. Mon~ 
seigneur Dubourg is the bishop of New Orleans. 
You have seen, my dear Countess, with me 
the cradle of the Mississippi, and the deep tomb 
which swallows it up on its closing its long and 
brilliant course. Madame Deshouilli^Te, 11 a 
charming idyl, compares the life of man to the 
agitated course of a river. This interesting 
image is justly applicable to ordinary men ; but 
nothing, in my opinion, resembles so nearly the 
course of this great river as the career of that 
extraordinary man who, originating in obscu- 
rity, exhibited a brilliant course of glory, and 
was at length entombed in the ocean of his own 

The hand of Providence has brought me to 
the conclusion of an enterprise which, solitary, 
and in all possible ways thwarted as I was, I 
scarcely dared to consider practicable, and the 
recollection of which brings back to my mind 
privations and dangers which make me shudder.* 
I caunot however help surveying this mighty 
river, the scene of all these sufferings, with satis- 
faction and pride. Though it appears here in 

* I escaped (lealh, I imao-ine, only Ijccause those bar- 
barous people thought they saw in that temerarious solitary 
man some extraordinary supernatural being. 




all its majesty, it seems towards me to display a 
carriage of less liautour, a demeanour less over- 
whelming. I have obtained over it a sort of 
empire. I alone jienetrated into the seclusion 
of his sanctuary, where the deity of the stream 
had concealed himself from mortal eyes. I saw 
him in the first struggle of his birth, apprehen- 
sive, cautious, and starting from the touch even 
of a bark canoe ; and v;hile announcing and 
upholding his sovereign dominion, I may be 
considered to have impaired the honours of his 
divinity by developing to the world all the se- 
crets of his prodigies, and incidents of his course. 

I have discovered the place of his origin in 
space, but who can disclose to us his origin in 
point of time ? Did the first beams of the sun 
constitute also the first of his days? Does he 
belong to incalculable antiquity or to modern 
ages? Here are questions of " height and depth," 
the discussion and solution of which I leave to 
those who are fond of plunging in the ocean of 
immensity. For my own part, I require repose 
and breathing-time to prepare myself for new 
labours and travels. I am going to proceed to 
Mexico, and perhaps to countries still farther 

You perceive, m3^ dear Countess, that I am 
almost always in motion and in divertion of 
mind But there are voids which nothing can 


"ic to displav a 
loiir less over- 
[• it a sort of 
the seelusiou 
of the stream 
. eyes. I saw 
•th, apprehcn- 
he touch even 
Qouncing and 
n, I may be 
lonours of his 
id all the se- 
of his course, 
his origin in 
> his origin in 
is of the sun 
ys? Does he 
)r to modern 
It and depth," 
ich I leave to 
1 the ocean of 
equire repose 
y^self for new 
to proceed to 
s still farther 



fill up ; there are impressions which neither 
tmie nor travel can wear away!.. ..I am not a 
little inclined to think with /Esop, that Prome- 
theus moistened with tears the clay from which 
he formed man ; and to exclaim with the sage— 

O curas homi.uim ! O quantum est in rebus inane ! 

No other consolations are now left me than the 
recollection and veneration of those extraordi- 
nary virtues which we cherished with common 
feelmgs, and the friendship of those whom I 
smcerely esteem. May you, my dear Countess, 
never withdraw from me yours ! 


^s, that I am 

divertion of 

I nothinc: can 


P.UNTEO nv c. u. nEVN.M,, „uo.» srn.ET, .........n sq, ,u... 




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Dbxctiom to the Binder. 

VOL. I. 

Portrait of the Author to face the title-page. 
The Plan of Karlsrhue, with the references to the same, to 
be inserted at page 218. 

Plan of the Gardens at Schwetzingen, with the references, at 
page 220. 

VOL. n. 

The Map at the commencement of the volume 
The three Plates of Indian Ornaments, &c. wiih the descrip- 
tions, at the end.